Did you know that the Triton High School Robotics team, led by Kathy Norton, has access to three 3D printers? Technology/Math teachers Jim Galante, Scott Dube and Kathy Norton each have one in their room for students to explore and experiment with. If you haven’t seen one in action, check it out on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aghzpO_UZE)
– It’s a pretty amazing machine. Some even go so far as to say 3D printing will change the way that the United States manufactures in the future. You may have heard that a 3D printer is being carried up to the international space station with the aim of manufacturing spare parts in space; or that the first ever working car has already been 3D printed and driven (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/09/19/so-this-exists-a-working-car-has-been-3d-printed-out-of-carbon-fiber-plastic/).
At Triton, the Robotics team requested one of the printers last fall to accommodate the building of parts for their competitions. Funds were made available through the federal 21st Century Grant program, and the printer was purchased in October. Since then, 2 more printers were purchased through the 21st Century Grant program, as well. The printers allow students to apply what they have learned in engineering technology classes, as well as math and science classes to a real-world engineering design format. Students begin working with the printer by copying projects from predesigned templates. However, it is the goal of the department to have students design and develop items using the software and printers that would solve real life problems. Last year, they produced a replacement exterior door security latch which was difficult to obtain commercially. “Triton students have a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to Engineering in high school,” said Technology Teacher, Jim Galante. “The skills that they are learning with the technology we are able to offer will help to prepare them for college and a career in the field of Engineering and/or Engineering Technology.”
Educators from the Robotics team will be attending the STEM summit in October as Triton continues their commitment to STEM.