Courses and training on 3d printing technology

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Courses and training on 3d printing technology

The Southeast Region Career & Technology Center (SRCTC) will be offering its annual junior high summer academy in the areas of math, science, engineering and technology from June 9-13. Following a national initiative by the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Institute, the classes will be more focused on engineering activities for kids than in the past. The classes will be held in Wahpeton and Oakes and run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

"There's actually a significant national movement in terms of engineering and technical careers," said SRCTC Director Dan Rood Jr. "We're trying to give some students exposure to it."

Mechanical design courses offered will use computer numerical control equipment, which helps manufacture a variety of different parts, and a Dimension 3D printer. Using a cell phone as an example, Rood said the printer will print an exact replica of the cell phone in its full dimension via AutoCAD, a design and drafting computer program. The 3D printer is newer technology used to make samples of items before they go into mass production.With more and more programs being done in three dimensions, Rood said this printer should aid in visualization for the students. Usually used for smaller design projects, the printer can handle a maximum of 8 inch by 8 inch by 12 inch objects.

"It's a changing world," said Rood. "In the old days, you would have to do an injection mold process and now you can just process it. That's a huge difference in time."

During the five day session, students will do some design work and printing. They will also get a shot at using different probes, censors and recording devices the center ordered for the physiology and anatomy portion of the class. After attending a trade show for the National Career and Technical Association in December, Rood discovered the new equipment and wanted to bring the technology back home.

"I think the kids will have some great experiences with that," said Rood. "It's hands-on career exploration, really."