School uses grant to purchase three 3-D printers

SCDS bought three 3-D printers on April 27 after receiving a grant for them.

SCDS submitted a grant proposal to Aerojet Rocketdyne to fund 3-D printing and robotics. After the submission each $1,300 printer was covered by the grant. No school funds were used to buy the printers.

One printer is located in math teacher Ed Bolman’s room, another is in director of technology Tom Wroten’s room and the third is still in its box.

According to Wroten, the 3-D printer is still boxed because the school hasn’t decided the proper location for it.

Bolman is testing his 3-D printer with a couple students to see how the student experience with the printer will go. Some students are given the ability to actually print out objects from Bolman’s printer.

Students who have ideas that involve the printer are given the opportunity to use it.

So far, Bolman and some students have printed an iPhone 5 case, several football logos, a scale model of the Giza Plateau, a whistle, geometric shapes and a paper airplane.

“Printing isn’t really that hard to do if you can just find an outline for the object you want to print,” Bolman said. “When printing the iPhone case, I had to modify the outline for it, which was a bit difficult.

“The whistle we printed actually worked, but the paper airplane didn’t.”

Over the summer Bolman will be experimenting with his 3-D printer.

“I’ve learned a lot so far about how to print and how to modify outlines,” Bolmain said.

“We ultimately want to have students across the three schools to be able to use the printers,” Wroten said. “We want students to be able to print out tools to use in class. But we need to have some students test it out so we can figure out the complete tech aspects, such as how hard it is for students to use the printers and how to actually use the printers.”

SCDS was originally going to buy one large 3-D printer, but chose to use the grant money to buy three smaller printers instead.

The smaller printers use PLA (polylactic acid), which is safe to use in a classroom; a larger printer would use ASB, which is unsafe since it requires ventilation for the fumes exerted from the printing.

“The school is exploring to eventually create a makersplace for all the 3-D printers to live,” Wroten said.

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