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Printer takes learning to a new distinction

Posted by Jacqui Adams on

Taken from The Daily Item

By Jerri Brouse

LEWISBURG — Thanks to the generosity of the Lewisburg Area High School Alumni Association and the Class of 1958, students in Mark Berger’s technology classes have had the unique opportunity to take learning to a new level this semester.

The Alumni Association recently used proceeds from its November Election Day spaghetti dinner and private donations collected from the Class of 1958 to purchase a 3D printer for the high school. The idea to purchase the printer purchase came from Bob Degling, a member of the Class of 1958.

According to Berger, four classes including between 80-100 students are using or will use the new printer throughout the year.

The two classes that will use the 3D printer include Technology Exploration and Energy, Power and Transportation — both are one-semester elective courses for students.

How it works

The Makerbot 3D printer allows the user to print objects that are “.stl” files, says Berger.

“These are files that break down an object layer by layer,” he says. “The Makerbot printer uses an additive process. The 3D printer prints one layer at a time laying down a thin layer of plastic wherever the object is solid. Then it lays another layer on top of the previous layer and repeats until the layers together form an object.”

Berger says the addition of the 3D printer is exciting.

“What a great tool to have in the classroom,” he says. “The 3D printer allows students to visualize designs in a whole new way. It is one thing to see it on paper — It is totally different to be able to create it in 3D.”

In Technology Education, students print a toy which they design in Autodesk Inventor. Berger says CADDI students have printed some objects which they designed and will be using it again to help them visualize the form and fit of some assembly projects they will be making.

“CADDII students will be using the printer to create a gear driven device. The gears will each be drawn and then printed.

We will print each part of the device and assemble those parts to create a simple gear driven machine,” he explains. “Many CADII students will be printing a model of a house which they will design using Autodesk Revit.”

Turbine experience

Students in Energy, Power and Transportation will be designing and printing wind turbine blades which will connect to a model wind turbine to test their blade designs for efficiency at different wind speeds.

Haley Trutt, a CADD 1 and 2 student, says “I think it makes the students see the projects in real life instead of making something with wood or metal. You just make it with the printer, and you have a miniature version of the real thing.”

“It’s incredible what you can make with a printer,” she explains. “New technology can be a great thing, if used wisely.”

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