3-D printer brings ideas to life for Schuylerville technology students

Students in technology classA group of Schuylerville High School technology students is wrapping up a project that involved the use of the district’s brand new 3-D printer. The students used the Maker-bot Replicator 2 3-D printer to create robotic arms they designed on the computer and then tested in an experiment.

“We couldn’t get the exact design we needed for our project with wood,” junior Haley Gronlund said. “The 3-D printer made it a lot easier and more accurate.”

“Our goal is to continue to incorporate the 3-D printer into our pre-existing curriculum,” technology teacher Fred Lefton said. “Our students are better able to visualize the use and application of engineering design by producing real working parts.”

Students enrolled in Design and Drawing for Production begin using the Solidworks 3-D Modeling software as freshmen. Older high school students also use the software and 3-D printer in such classes as Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Principles of Engineering.

“The 3-D printer adds an additional element to our lessons,” technology teacher David Gauci said. “In the past, the project ended with a computer design, but now, students can actually hold their project, test it and see what does and doesn’t work.”

The district purchased the 3-D printer last spring for use at Schuylerville High School.

How the Printer Works

3D PrinterInstead of printing one layer like on paper, the 3-D printer melts plastic filament, then draws with it in a very fine layer. The printer then builds another fine layer of plastic on top of this one, and then another, and another, building a student’s idea in slices from the bottom up until he or she has a plastic object ready to hold.

Schuylerville technology students and teachers are excited about the new opportunities the
3-D printer presents.

“The 3-D printer allows us to make more creative things,” Grolund said. “We get to make our ideas come to life.”

“If students can design it, they can now build it,” Lefton said.