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club48’s NEW 3D Printing Club

Kids in the 3D Design and Printing club.
Students in the 3D Design and Printing Club. Photo provided by Pete Johannsen.

This January, a new and exciting activity opened up for the kids of club48: 3D Design and Printing. Previously working on photography during the fall with USES’ community partner and friend, Pete Johannsen, the kids switched over to this new field with him as the changing seasons left them with less daylight for photos. Pete, or "Mr. Pete” as the kids like to call him, hoped that the kids could fill their imaginations and curiosity in a fun and engaging way similar to how the kids enjoyed photography. Learning how to use TinkerCad was their first lesson, an online 3D modeling program. Free, easy to use, and holding a myriad of shape and color choices, the program easily piqued the interest of students.

“I’m really proud about how they’ve learned to use the tool." Pete shares. "It’s difficult at first because it can be complicated to see the 3D aspect from a 2D screen. Sometimes you think you’re doing one thing to a shape but you’re actually doing something else.”

Once the kids make a design to their liking, Pete prints the design for them. Finished projects have ranged from toy cars to jewelry boxes to objects purely made for fun, like a toy cat figurine.

“One of the things that’s most magical is when they bring their creativity to a project in a way that I wouldn’t have thought of." Pete gestures towards a computer screen and shares one of the kid's designs. "Take Sebastian for example. He is one of the most out-of-the-box thinkers. I loved the bounce house he made by arranging dozens of unmodified blocks, which was such a creative approach."

A 3D model.

Students are continuing to make new designs or update previously created ones, like Charlie, who explained a few changes he like to make for his project:

“This is an organizer for potion ingredients. These flat pieces are for labels. I want to update the color scheme with red, white, blue, and gold.”

When asked what kind of potions he’s making: “Harry Potter potions.”

A few desks over, Eva shares that she’s making an earring holder. Eva is one of the few students who have used TinkerCad before, and her knowledge of the program makes her a popular resource in the classroom for those who need help adding and manipulating shapes. Her name can be heard throughout the classroom from different students looking at their computer screens with puzzled looks. “The kids have really stuck with it and have learned tricks from me and also from each other. It’s been great to see,” Pete shares. Each student eventually solves their design hiccup and learns a new helpful tip in the process.

The club will most likely continue their 3D projects throughout the spring with a chance to return in the fall again!

Kids in the 3D Design and Printing club work on laptops.
Photo provided by Pete Johannsen.

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