3D Printers Introduced at Clear Creek High School
By Nicholas Wright, senior and staff writer at Clear Creek High School
Students and staff at Clear Creek High School now have a unique way to complete school assignments and major projects in the classroom. New 3D printers have been introduced to all high school libraries in the Clear Creek Independent School District through a grant from the Clear Creek Education Foundation.
The 3D printer, also known as additive manufacturing, uses a resin that releases in strings which are layered on top of each other, held together without the need for time to dry. Depending on the size of the object, the project could take hours to make. For example, a small treasure chest replica that is made solid and rather smooth by the resin takes around six hours to fabricate.
The printer has only been used a few times by Clear Creek High School students so far, but they were successful in making a small boat that floats on water for a class competition. Laura Gladney-Lemon, head librarian at Clear Creek, has also made a working spool with the 3D printer.
Although most students are not familiar with the printer yet, many are interested in learning how to use it. "They're a cool opportunity we have and open artistic possibilities,” said Clear Creek junior Gregory Edmunds. “They could be used to make sculptures or a small Willie the Wildcat."
Clear Creek believes the 3D printers are a great addition to the library because they allow students to print solutions for needs in their own life. “3D printers are paving the way to more interactive and creative learning styles,” said Librarian Gladney-Lemon. “Not only will the students have the outcome of an innovative project, the process to get there will also teach them important computer and technical skills like Computer Aided Design.”
It will also benefit students who have to create a project but might not be able to make it by hand. They now have the tools to learn how to use the 3D software to print their project and be creative without the need to be well-versed with art design. They can use a computer program to bring their imaginations to life in the form of a three-dimensional item.
“Many teachers are also excited about how the printer can be implemented into their lesson plans, because it is a new way to teach students and can be far more interactive than simply reading a textbook,” Gladney-Lemon said. “This also gives teachers the opportunity to assign projects that are three-dimensional, opening the door for previously unthinkable projects.”
A growing number of people are seeing the benefits of incorporating the 3D printers into their schools or businesses as they become more advanced. Some of their current uses are for space research, mechanics, education, and have even been used to make food. Clear Creek High School is excited to offer this new opportunity to enhance learning for students and staff through innovative technology.
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