Ramsey’s 3D Printer Embraces 21st Century Learning

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Christian Milcos

Ramsey’s 3D Printer Embraces 21st Century Learning

William Kennedy, Staff Writer

Ramsey High School’s Technology Department recently upgraded their 3D Printer from an old Personal Portable 3D Printer, to a new CubePro Trio. This upgrade was in response to a higher level of demand based on an increased curriculum usage of 3D printing.

Students will now be able to move on from the program, AutoCAD for designing, directly to 3D printing for quick and easy fabrication which The Economist termed ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’ in 2012.

RHS woodshop teacher, Mr. Chrisafis, noted the upcoming Engineering 101 classes will include a project that requires an object to be created with the new 3D Printer. He went on to say that previous projects included printing a universal joint (U-Joint) for a car (a joint that flexibly holds a car’s driveshaft in place), creating dog tags, gears, and in one case a lion’s head. These projects can now be made in a shorter amount of time with the new printer.

3D printing begins by creating a model using a computer aided design, (CAD) then printing that image into a three dimensional model which involves the use of thermoplastics (plastics that become soft or moldable when heated) such as ABS, PLA, or Nylon in a slow layering process.

3D printing is a fairly new concept to RHS and the country, having only been invented towards the end of the 1980’s. The main goal of the unique printer was originally to create a way to allow rapid prototyping, but it’s function has since been changed for a multitude of different applications such as being used as a learning tool in schools. Today, architects or whoever uses the printer are now able to quickly create physical scale models of designs. The aerospace company, Airbus announced plans fror a plane that is going to be built with more than 1,000 printed components, and air forces around the world have used printers to create replacement parts. In addition, the Swedish car manufacturer Koenigsegg developed the One: 1, a car that leverages a number of printed parts similar to the U-Joints created here at Ramsey High School.

In medical applications, a five year old girl in the UK has received a prosthetic hand created using 3D printing. In March of 2014 a motorcyclist who had been in a horrific accident had parts of his face rebuilt with 3D printed parts. A year earlier, in May of 2013, Defense Distributed released plans to create a plastic gun using 3D printing; however, they were forced to remove their plans from their web site by the U.S. Department of State. The abuses of 3D printing capabilities could be a cause for concern. As Mr. Chrisafis explains, “Where someone is determined they will try and find a way to misuse something.” By exposing students to a 3D printer early, pupils will then be more prepared to use the tool and innovate in college and beyond.