PCMS 3D Printing
A new way to print
3D printing comes to PCMS
Last year Adam Kalman came to work at Port Chester Middle School and taught himself everything he could about the LulzBot Mini he found in his classroom.
Now his students are learning right along with him.
The square contraption that sits on a table in his classroom is a 3D printer. During the school year, each member of the eighth grade has rotated through his class for a marking period to learn what 3D printing is and how to use it.
Mr. Kalman said his students are amazed, just like he was, to learn that 3D printing has been used to make houses, body parts and even food.
“Making body parts, for me that is mind blowing,” Mr. Kalman said.
The skills students are learning now are simpler than what might be required to make complex human organs, but the concepts are the same.
“The difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional is volume,” Mr. Kalman said. “You can rotate it and see all sides.”
“You have to pay attention to everything, what is under your design,” he continued.
It’s a concept students have to get used to as they use the software program TinkerCad to design objects. The program walks students through the process step by step.
The first thing they work on is creating a flower button and then advance to a ring. From there the designs become increasingly more detailed.
As students’ designs evolve they are saved and Mr. Kalman fires up the LulzBot and prints each one. An object, depending on its size and details, can take from 45 minutes to several hours to print. Due to the time constraints, most of the students’ work is kept to simple things. When the time comes, Mr. Kalman hopes to live stream the process so students throughout the school can watch the printer create an item in 3D.
“I want to teach them so much, but I only have so much time,” Mr. Kalman said.
“I was excited because I’ve never seen a 3D printer and I’d thought I’d learn how to print in 3D,” student Evan Ceja said. “It’s fun. There is so much that is challenging, but you can get through with instructions.”
Once he finished his flower button, Evan went on to design a pawn for a chess set.
“It was kind of cool,” Katherine Vizho said, adding for her first piece she just wanted to make it look good.
Alfred Rich was working on his ring design.
“It was different,” Alfred said of his reaction when he learned he would be learning about 3D printing. The most challenging part, he said, was learning how to move the object on his computer screen.
“I’m excited to learn what it can do,” Michelle Ramos said as she worked on her ring design.
“It’s mind blowing what the possibilities are and what they can do with it,” Mr. Kalman said.