3D Technology makes its way into the classroom

MARQUETTE — Technology is all the rage these days. Students at Marquette Senior High School have been playing with 3D printers for most of the school year.

These printers are far from ordinary and the possibilities are endless.

“A person would create a design using an Auto–Cad type program, create an STL file, then you send the file to the printer and it prints using an additive process,” said Becky Simmons, a science teacher at MSHS. “It takes the file, slices it into layers, feeds plastic through an heated extruder tip, and then the computer lays down layers of plastic and builds up the object that you’ve created.”

MSHS has a trio of 3D Printers. The students in the Digital Makers Club use the printers to make just about anything, from key chains, to dinosaurs, to America’s favorite mouse.

“A lot of those things like the Cody tags I actually designed,” said MSHS junior Noah Sorelle. “Just being able to sit at home, being able to create something on the computer then making an actual object is pretty awesome.”

“It really gives them the chance to go some out of the box thinking and thinking that they don’t usually get in their mainstream classes,” said Simmons. “If you’re going to create a product, just thinking in three dimensions is a different type of knowledge and being able to create something that you made is pretty exciting for the students. “It opens up the possibility of creating products that they may not have been able to do.”

Simmons is in the process of adding a 3D Printing Class for her students next year. In addition to the Digital Makers club, a couple of classes have used the printers to expand their knowledge.
“We have students that have done some designing in our tech classes, designing models and using them to cast medal parts for other projects,” she said. “One of our chemistry classes did some molecular modeling and printed some models. We’re looking to add even more ways into our classes, but we’re just getting started with that process.”

“It’s definitely a very useful technology,” added Sorelle. “I’ve worked on our robotics team and being able to design custom parts definitely gives us an up on our competition.”

3D Printers range in price from a couple hundred bucks to a couple thousand dollars. In Marquette, I’m Andy Kulie for ABC 10 and CW–5 News Now.