Students 3D Print Projects for Teachers


The 3D printer works on printing a tablet holder.

Marlee Sorrells, Editor-in-Chief

The smell of burning plastic fills the air. The machine beeps through each project, the plate moving to catch the filament in the correct place. They take in each detail of the sketch and what is being printed in front of them. They speak with their clients and provide them the prototypes of their order. Soon each client will receive their order, created by their students.

The Engineering and Design class has been 3D printing custom orders for teachers. They have received orders for things like phone holders and desk organizers.

“I wanted them to do a project that works on client interaction,” Engineering and Design teacher Emily Covington said. “This way the students will know how to write professional emails and work for someone.”

Students started the project by choosing from a list of objects to make. Each object corresponds to a teacher that they have to interact with throughout the project.

“One teacher asked for a phone stand so that it could stand on a curved surface,” Covington said. “Another wanted an organizer to hold their thermometers.”

Once they chose their projects, they had to schedule an interview with the teacher they are creating for. During the interview, they received specifics for what they were designing.

“When I presented them with the objects, I used very general descriptions,” Covington said. “The students had to ask their teacher for what each project was supposed to end up being at the end.”

They spent this week creating the rough sketches of the objects and putting them into a design program to transfer to the printers. Once finished, the students will print a prototype to have it approved by their client.

“We use a program called ‘inventr’ to design the project for the printer,” Covington said. “When they have the file created, the printer reads it and will build each project accordingly.”

After speaking with their client, the students will make any final changes to the design so that it fits the teacher’s needs. Then they will print the completed object.

“The students will learn how to build their projects according to a need,” Covington said. “Up until this point, the students have been working to create for themselves. By working for someone else they develop valuable skills for working with other people.”

Once the project is complete, they will deliver their creation to the teacher that ordered it.

“I really enjoy the projects in this class,” junior Afraiem Abdelshahid said. “Learning hands-on will help us in the future with client relationships and the creation and design of projects.”