Taking learning to another dimension

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

MFL MarMac senior Brayde Miller shows off the Rubik’s Cube pieces he’s developing with the high school’s 3D printer. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The printing process begins on the students’ personal MacBook laptops, explained senior Collin Ostert (shown here). Through a website called Tinkercad, students use a computer aided design (CAD) program to develop 3D digital models.

On the CAD program, students use different shapes to form the basis of a design. The shapes can then be grouped together and manipulated to create the desired object.

Before printing occurs, students first view the model in a computer program that connects to the Maker Bot 3D printer. From there, the information about the object is sent to the printer.

MFL MarMac students in the high school’s industrial education classes first began using a 3D printer last fall. Since then, it’s become a unique and engaging resource.

Printing time varies depending on the size of the object. A small piece of student Brayde Miller’s Rubik’s Cube (shown here) takes one hour and 20 minutes. One of the pencil holders a student created in the spring took several days.

Once completed, the pieces feel like plastic. The objects are not completely solid, but instead have a 10 percent infill, which refers to the structure inside the object. It resembles a honeycomb or box-like pattern.

Also referred to as additive manufacturing, 3D printing involves creating a three-dimensional, solid object from a digital model. Through an additive process, objects are formed as a printer continually distributes thin, horizontal layers of a material, one on top of the other, until the desired object is complete. Students are currently creating ornaments for every MFL MarMac kindergartner.

Teacher Joe Milewsky said 3D printing has opened students’ eyes to new ideas and possible careers.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Since 3D printing was first developed in the 1980s, the technology has come a long way, allowing people to create product prototypes, machine parts, prosthetics, art and more. At MFL MarMac, it’s become a unique and engaging resource in the high school’s industrial technology classes.

Also referred to as additive manufacturing, 3D printing involves creating a three-dimensional, solid object from a digital model. Through an additive process, objects are formed as a printer continually distributes thin, horizontal layers of a material, one on top of the other, until the desired object is complete. This is unlike the single-layer, two-dimensional images formed with regular desktop printers.

Teacher Joe Milewsky said MFL MarMac students first began using a 3D printer late last fall. The idea came about two years ago, he noted, when he and agriculture teacher Doug Martin felt it was time to get more up-to-date with their course offerings.

The district was able to obtain the printer through the Keystone AEA, which had access to Carl D. Perkins funds, federal money earmarked toward career and technical education courses.

The printing process begins on the students’ personal MacBook laptops, explained senior Collin Ostert. Through a website called Tinkercad, students use a computer aided design (CAD) program to develop 3D digital models. There, he said, one uses different shapes to form the basis of a design. The shapes can then be grouped together and manipulated to create the desired object.

“You can really put a lot of detail into it,” Ostert said.

Currently, said Milewsky, students are creating ornaments for every MFL MarMac kindergartner. Each depicts a different winter or holiday scene and includes the child’s name and the year.

Last spring, students in the class made an individualized pencil holder for all the school staff.

In order to get to the point of creating objects, Milewsky said students first go through 41 different lessons on Tinkercad, where they learn how to move and build things.

“It gives you steps to follow,” Milewsky said, with the goal being for students to form what they see in a picture.

Students have embraced 3D printing, with some developing other projects based on their personal interests.

Senior Brayde Miller is making his own Rubik’s Cube.

“I like Rubik’s Cubes a lot, and I can solve them really fast,” he said. “People make different sizes and variations. Those are all 3D printed.”

So, he thought, why not create his own. He’s now in the process of 3D printing each individual piece.

Although each piece is modeled after one from the original Rubik’s Cube, Miller said there are some adjustments he has to make when 3D printing. For example, some pieces require the addition of a brace.

“You can’t print in thin air,” he said, explaining that the design then continues to print over the brace. When the piece is complete, you simply break off the brace, he added.

Objects also require designing a raft on the bottom, Milewsky said, which stabilizes the object and prevents it from curling up as it prints. 

Additionally, students have to take into account how the item has to be printed while they’re designing it. 

“You have to print these a certain way; you can’t print things standing up,” Milewsky said. Objects have to be printed lying down, even if that’s not how they’ll sit after completion.

Before printing occurs, students first view the model in a computer program that connects to the Maker Bot 3D printer. From there, the information about the object is sent to the printer.

The material used to create objects depends upon what’s being made as well as the printer producing it. At MFL MarMac, a coil of plastic filament, which comes in a variety of colors, feeds into the printer. The printer’s extruder heats up the filament to 215 degrees Celsius or 419 degrees Fahrenheit. The filament is then layered to create the object. 

Once completed, the pieces feel like plastic. The objects are not completely solid, but instead have a 10 percent infill, which refers to the structure inside the object. It resembles a honeycomb or box-like pattern.

“The stuff’s a lot stronger than you think it is,” Miller said, noting that the material can even hold water.

Printing time varies depending on the size of the object. A small piece of Miller’s Rubik’s Cube takes one hour and 20 minutes. One of the pencil holders created in the spring took several days, Milewsky said.

Milewsky said 3D printing has opened students’ eyes to new ideas and possible careers. 

“It makes them be creative. You have to learn how to find solutions for things in life,” he said. “For someone like Brayde, who wants to be an engineer, it gives them an idea of what they might need to do.”

The only limit is one’s imagination.

“If they can imagine it, they can make it,” he stated.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet