Hartley students in Russ Spier’s industrial technology courses have been utilizing 3D printers. They use them to turn their computer-designed outlines into a tangible reality. The Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn High School industrial technology tutor has four 3D printers in his shop: 2 Replicator Mini Plus Machines and 2 MakerBot Replicator Plus printers.
The boxlike devices are packed with reels of material known as polylactic acid plastic. The fibers are expelled from the upper chamber of the printer. They are sculpted to any design is drawn into the mechanism.
The school bought the mini models around three years ago. It also purchased the huge Replicator Plus models two years ago with a donation.
This semester, the 21st-century skills drafting and a class of Spier I and II have been utilizing machines nearly each day. To make their 3D projects, students make use of computer programs like SketchUp and Tinkercad to digitally design them. They save their designs to a file and send them to the 3D printers. This is after everything is done.
“One rule is they have to draw what they want to print out, and it has to be something that’s meaningful, with detail,” Says Spier. “So do I want them just to draw a box? Not really.”
The learners in 21st-century abilities recently have been handling projects like model cars and motorcycles. The replicas vary in size around 4-6 inches in dimension and 1-1.5 inches in width.
In the drafting classes, the learners have devised their own 3D printing projects. The only current student who is in the drafting II level of the mixed class made an octopus print. The student is called Junior Elle Mastbergen.
“The octopus actually has jointed legs, so when you pick it up, it moves,” Spier said. “It turned out really cool.” Also, Mastbergen created and printed a connected dinosaur. The most latest work is a print of the animated Pixar lamp.
The two big devices can print projects of about eight inches wide, seven inches long and ten inches high. The smaller Mini Plus devices can print about four inches wide, four inches long and eight inches tall.
Based on the size of a specific project, the devices may take many hours to print out a single piece. That implies all four printers normally are being utilized concurrently each day.
“Just printing a couple gears can take about 30 to 40 minutes,” noted Spier. “If you’re printing out the gears, the tires, the body, the frame, everything, it can go up to four or five hours.”
Spier gives high school learners tasks of checking the progress of the printers in the afternoon when is not around. The 3D printers have enabled students to overlay projects they create in separate classes. “Some of the things we do print out turn out pretty cool. We have our flops, too. Not everything turns out perfect,” Spier explains.
According to Spier, plans are under to hold another challenging project for his drafting students before the end of the semester.