3D Printing | News

Seventh-Graders Build Their Own 3D Printer

A team of seventh-graders in Ohio built their own 3D printer and are now using it to create their own musical instruments.

Four seventh-graders at Perry Middle School in Perry, OH, near Cleveland, took up the challenge in their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class shortly after school started this fall.

Blanche Davidson, their teacher, said her school could have bought a 3D printer for the class.

"But one of the things we're trying to do is get students to learn something deeply," Davidson said in a news report about the project. "If we just gave them the printer, they wouldn't really understand what is going on with it."

Charlie Kluznik, one of the students, said he and his classmates — Jacob Holroyd and brothers David and Eric Paquin — already knew a little bit about 3D printing and were musicians as well. So they decided they wanted to print their own trumpet mouth pieces.

"I've seen people print all sorts of things," Kluznik said, "mouth pieces and even entire instruments, but you have to put them together."

Fortunately, they had a design from the 3D printer's manufacturer's software to rely on but, now that they've started, they say they feel as if there are few limits to what they can do.

Instructions from MakerGear say a person should be able to build one of its 3D printers in about three hours. However, it took the Perry Middle School students a bit longer, partly because they were limited to working on it during their daily 45-minute classes.

And they visited the MakerGear manufacturing facility in nearby Beachwood, OH, during the process to talk to owners and employees.

In the end, it took them about a month to finish the project.

Said Davidson, their teacher, "They have a deep understanding of how it works, and they can troubleshoot it themselves. They became experts. That's what we want."

Now, Davidson is trying to encourage students in a similar class at Perry High School to take on the same project that the younger students did.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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