Prep gets 3D printer

November 7, 2014

Cathedral Prep is well known for being on the forefront of the technology world. Starting with the tablet PC program that has now developed into the iPad program, Prep always strives to stay up to date with new technology. The newest device to make its way through the doors of Prep, however, surpasses even the hundred of iPads that come into the school every day. Cathedral Prep is now the proud owner of a 3D printer.

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, has been around since the 1980s. 3D printing has gotten increasingly popular in today’s society due to the printers dramatically dropping in price. Luckily, however, Prep received a grant that paid for the 3D printer, said Mr. Ng, the teacher who wanted to get the 3D printer and whose room is home to the printer.

A braclet produced by the 3D printer

A bracelet produced by the 3D printer

The printer works by beginning with a plastic filament. The machine loads the model, heats up the extruder, and then begins to print out the melted-down filament. At the time of this article, the only things printed were from the machine’s internal memory, but Mr. Ng has expectations of using it to print student projects.

A student-created model of the Prep crest, produced by the 3D printer.

A student-created model of the Prep crest, produced by the 3D printer.

The only class expected to use the 3D printer is Microstation CAD II. Mr. Ng says he is excited to use the 3D printer because it will provide the students in CAD II with hands-on experience. Ideas of projects he has in mind for the class include printing 3D Prep logos and, as a final project, a complete 3D model of Cathedral Prep and the Cathedral.

As a Microstation CAD II student myself, I feel very grateful that I am able to use the 3D printer. I asked the other students in the class what they think of the new addition to Prep.  “It’s great that we have the chance to use a real world tool in an expanding field here at Prep,” said Mike Bishop.

Brett Cox thinks it is “awesome that Prep was so fortunate to get one of these.”

Josh Gionti said that it looks nice and he is looking for forward to using it.

“It’s really cool,” says Brendan Flanagan, “I am incredibly excited to be able to make use of the advancing technology.”

Dan Chastant says, “I think the opportunity to have something that enhances our education is fantastic.”

Link of chain produced by 3D printer

Link of chain produced by 3D printer

It is clear not only from the students in Microstation CAD but from everyone at Prep that the 3D printer is an awesome addition. Not only did students from class crowd around to catch of glimpse of the printer in action, but kids from other classes were stopping into Mr. Ng’s classroom to see the different projects the printer had produced. From a few links of plastic chain to a plastic bracelet to a tiny coffee table, in its first few days the printer has already gotten a lot of use, and there is no doubt many student-created projects will come out of the printer in the future.

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