Trinity-Byrnes IT Club tours SiMT MakerSpace

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Unlimited possibilities. That’s what five Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School students found in front of them when they visited the SiMT MakerSpace, Tuesday Jan. 31.

The MakerSpace is a 3-D printing lab open to the public. Community members can visit the lab for a one-time project or get a monthly membership and work on large, or multiple, projects.

Gould Business Incubator Director Ashley Dingle talked with the students about 3-D printing, the different types of filament that can be used and the seemingly limitless possibilities that 3-D printing offers.

“It has really only been on the consumer market the last six years or so,” Dingle said. “You may not know this though: 3-D printing has actually been around since the early 1980’s. It has just been recently where we can actually purchase them and put them in our homes and make things. Next door, in the Technology Center, we have been making things for a while. We thought it only made sense to introduce it to the people here and in the community where we could all learn by doing; that’s why we opened the first commercial MakerSpace.”

Dingle said that they have seen a lot of creative projects built in the MakerSpace.

“What we are able to do in that space is not only learn about 3-D printing and how we can use things and modify things that get broken but we can also create our own prototypes,” Dingle said. “If you have an invention or an idea for something, you can draw it up on design software and then you can have it in your hand by the end of the day. That’s pretty amazing; we’ve come a really long way from how it used to be trying to get a product to market. Having technology like this really helps.”

At SiMT, projects are created using Stereolithography (SLI) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

“There are more than just the two types of 3-D printing; this is just mainly what we use,” said Michael Davis, a technician who helps run the MakerSpace. “Fused is what we use in the MakerSpace; it is a glorified hot glue gun. The printer works on computer code; if any of you are familiar with CNC machines, the printers work on the same code. Polylactic acid, PLA, is what we run, what the 3-D items are made of.”

Sara Hetu, art teacher at Trinity-Byres, said that the students would be creating their own 3-D projects soon.

“We have an IT Club at the school. I am the art teacher so we are working together on this, bringing in my drawing skills and Mr. Sanders technology skills together,” Hetu said. “I love this process; it is so interesting. We got our 3-D printer yesterday so we haven’t done anything yet but hopefully we will soon.”

Matthew Sanders, math teacher at Trinity-Byrnes and the faculty advisor for the IT Club, said that he is interested to see how much they can incorporate 3-D printing at the school.

“We wanted to get into the 3-D printing game because we like engineering and we can use it in all of the other disciplines,” Sanders said. “For instance, in geography we can print 3-D maps; in science we can print bones for forensics or we can print models of atoms. We are really just opening the door and we don’t know where this is going to take us.”

Sanders said that the printer, and other recent purchases at the school, were made possible by Dr. David Collins and his wife who gifted the school with the monetary resources necessary to acquire the technology and start the IT Club.

Author: mrollins

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