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High School Students Seize 3D Opportunities

3 Dec, 2014 By: Julie Reece, Mcor Technologies

Little things matter a lot when you’re young. Will that talented computer-aided design student be inspired and become an engineer or architect?  Or will she find the classwork less than relevant and drift through high school?

One Texas high school is giving its students every opportunity to be inspired. While students across the country create designs exclusively on computer screens, the architectural AutoCAD students of Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas, are bringing their designs to life through 3D printing. They’re also learning about one of the 21st century’s most game-changing technologies.

“Three-dimensional printing brings the digital CAD drawing out of the computer and into real, tangible space,” explains instructor Adam Truncale.  “These students are exceptional spatial thinkers, so they very much appreciate the opportunity to hold in their hands something they’ve conceived in their brains and shaped in the software.  This is how great ideas are born, how future engineers are engaged, and how a wealth of products will be created in decades to come.”

Full participation in the engineering community

The students are using an Mcor Matrix 300+ 3D printer from Mcor Technologies, maker of the world’s most affordable and environmentally friendly 3D printers. Mcor 3D printers are also the only ones using ordinary letter and A4 paper as the build material.  Though made of paper, the finished models are essentially wood coming right out of the printer.

Lee High School students are creating mechanical parts, models of their architectural designs, and quintessentially “practical” products like 3D signs.  When they create interlocking gears, for example, they learn about design, gear ratios, 3D printing and 3D printers. When they create architectural models, they discover strengths and weaknesses that may have been hidden on the computer screen.

“3D printing is in the headlines every day, and for good reason,” says Truncale.  “A device like the Mcor Matrix could be in everyone’s home in a few years. Either way, it’s important that smart, creative, ambitious high school students like mine get immersed in technologies like this so that they can fully participate in the broader engineering community, and better prepare for advanced educational programs and careers.”

Better thinking, more opportunities

Truncale has observed that 3D printing has made students more agile in their three-dimensional thinking. As they master the workings of the hardware and software, they will assume greater responsibility for production and will help train faculty members from other disciplines, such as art, science and history, in the technology.

The Mcor Matrix is ideal for schools and universities because of its low operating cost, safe operation, and eco-friendly process. No build material is more affordable and widely available than paper. And since models are paper-fused by a non-toxic water-based adhesive, they can be simply dropped into any recycling bin after use.

As the machine emits no fumes and generates no dangerous heat, it’s one of the only 3D printers suitable for an office environment. (Others are relegated to the manufacturing floor or climate-controlled, dust-free environment).

Since they’re made of paper, Mcor Matrix models are easy to mark up with a pen or pencil as they’re passed around a table. An Mcor model can be drilled, tapped, sanded, shaved down or sawn into pieces.

“Students have only one shot at getting high school right, and the ones who invest themselves into their studies are the ones with the best chance at success in years to come,” says Truncale. “Mcor 3D printing technologies are helping us engage these students early in a meaningful way, so they can go on to create their own opportunities – and make the most of them.”

Lee High School is supported by Mcor Certified Reseller Lab Resources. 

Julie Reece is Director of Marketing at Mcor Technologies Ltd., a manufacturer of affordable, full-color & eco-friendly 3D printers, able to use ordinary business-letter paper as the build material for durable & tactile models. Established in 2004, the company operates internationally from offices in Ireland, the UK and America.  At http://mcortechnologies.com

About the Author: Julie Reece

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