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Sunday, 25 December 2016

3-D Printing Helps Entrepreneurs Innovate


Ishpeming High School students are combining geometry, technology and construction experience as a fun and useful way to apply basic math skills.

The Mining Journal reports Geometry in Construction students are using a 3-D printer that Heather Salmi built as a part of the U.P. Project SMILE grant. Project SMILE, which stands for Science & Mathematics Integrated with Literacy through Engineering, is the product of a Math Science Partnership grant from the Michigan Department of Education that the Seaborg Center at Northern Michigan University can apply for.

Salmi said the printer seemed like a logical addition to the geometry and construction curricula.

"We were creating the tiny houses and I wanted to incorporate the technology that we were so fortunate to be able to have in our classroom and in our building," Salmi said.

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3-D Printing Helps Entrepreneurs Innovate

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The printing process starts by creating a 3-D blueprint using computer-aided design software – commonly called CAD, according to a U.S. Department of Energy article. The USDE article stated that by using information from the digital file, the design is split into thin two-dimensional cross-sections so the printer knows exactly where to put material. Material extrusion works like a glue gun, the article stated. A spool of filament, which looks like a weed whipper coil, feeds through a hot extruder that melts it then it lays it down. The thin layers resemble a spider web or fishing line – and just builds it up.

The students used the printer before the meeting to print keychains in the shape of the U.P. for the board members, and printed a tiny die cube during the meeting for the members of the board to look at. The students in Salmi's class used the printer to make individual bricks used in the foundation of tiny houses they are building at three-quarter-inch scale.

Salmi said IHS's industrial education teacher Ron Grochowski has been helping the students to build the tiny houses and configure the proper dimensions for the materials. Grochowski said the printer was helpful in creating some of the materials used for the projects.