Molding the Future with 3D Printing

Dubbed the 3D Printer Project, three groups have come together in the hopes of generating interest and awareness of STEM education opportunities for educators and students.


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Newton’s Road and RJG, Inc., in cooperation with TBAISD, are donating up to three MakerBot 3D printers to Traverse City Area Public Schools at all grade levels.

“3D printers engage students with STEM education,” says Mike Groleau of RJG.  RJG noticed this potential after hiring high school interns from Manufacturing Technology Academy (MTA), who brought with them strong skills in solid modeling. MTA uses 3D printers as a significant part of its curriculum, as they allow students to design, produce, and test parts in school projects, such as robotics projects. 

The project’s first 3D printer was placed at West Middle School to test the potential for the technology at a level earlier than high school. Pete Deyo has been using the printer as part of his art class, where students sculpt their designs on the computer, then print them in class.  To date, over 150 students have used the printer as part of his class.

The 3D Printer Project is expanding its efforts to include other TCAPS schools. “Our aim is to create a collaborative effort between visionary educators throughout the school system,” says Groleau. We want teachers who are trying new approaches, seeking out best practices, adapting as they learn, and sharing experiences with others to drive innovation.” 

In addition to a written application, interested schools needed to submit a 90-second video summarizing the proposal and showing where and how the printer will be used.

Check out MMT's May edition of its Addittive Manufacturing Supplement for more on 3D printing