How do you take an existing product and make it better? Just ask the 29 eighth graders at Thomas Middle School who recently completed a new, 9-week elective focused on three-dimensional printing, research and design. Titled 3D RD, the first-time course challenged the students to create or redesign every day products using 3D technology resources available both at school and at the library including Tinkercad, an online design application, and the Hub’s MakerBot 3D printer.
The course culminated on January 20 when the students presented their final 3D projects before an audience of some 50 parents and teachers. Thomas Middle School Principal Brian Kaye emceed the program which was held in the Hub. Students presented ideas and 3D models that ranged from a clever set of interchangeable scissors handles, designed by Arlington Heights students Zoe Axelrod and Annie Waz, to an always in demand TV remote holder.
“Give me a show of hands, how many of you guys have lost your remotes,” asked Emil Harb and Michael Macynski, the student engineers of a sleekly-designed TV remote holder. “This is the item that shall fulfill your needs!”
In all 12 groups of students presented and displayed their printed 3D prototypes at the library.
“The kids were really well-prepared,” says Teen Services Supervisor Tom Spicer, who worked with the District 25 students. “It was really great to see that they were able to start using the modeling software to design and print workable prototypes and products.”
“It was really gratifying to see the students present their final products,” added Jim Grant, Thomas Middle School industrial technology teacher and creator of the class. “It was fun trying something new, and it was great working with the Hub staff. The teamwork between the school and library provided enhanced learning for the students and resulted in some really innovative and creative 3D products.”
Thomas Middle School will offer 3D RD in the spring with a new class starting in April.