Orthopedic & Advanced Manufacturing Training Center Director of Advanced Manufacturing Tom Till (R) helps Jacob Parker, a homeschooled sixth-grader from Lagro, with his Snap Together Robothand. The plastic hand was made on a 3-D printer, with elastic and fishing wire used as ‘tendons.’ Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Orthopedic & Advanced Manufacturing Training Center Director of Advanced Manufacturing Tom Till (R) helps Jacob Parker, a homeschooled sixth-grader from Lagro, with his Snap Together Robothand. The plastic hand was made on a 3-D printer, with elastic and fishing wire used as ‘tendons.’ Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Ask the students in the Ivy Tech Design Summer Camp this week what they want to be when they grow up and they’ll tell you robot designer, astrophysicist, chemist or roller coaster designer.
Sixth- through eighth-graders in the camp at the Orthopedic & Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, Warsaw, built and designed prosthetic hands and Pine-Wood Derby-style cars using 3-D printers.
Tom Till, OAMTC director of advanced manufacturing, said this week the students used Siemens NX CAD software to design their own cars, made of plastic. The students were not familiar with the Siemens NX at all before using it. It’s the same software orthopedic companies use and not a kids version.
“In one day these kids learned how to design their own car. An engineering professor came in and lectured the students on aerodynamics,” he stated.
The cars had a weight limit which students had to meet.
DePuy-Synthes design engineer Jayson McCammack said, “Each of the kids had the opportunity to come up with their own design. We just provided the software. They were given a set of rules. We tried to make it as real life as possible.”
The cars were then raced Friday morning for some competitive fun, he said.
“They like the idea of designing on the computer and creating using 3-D printing technology instead of whittling,” McCammack said.
The prosthetic hands came from the Snap Together Robothand. The students saw a video of it at the start of the week. The video can be found online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGSo_I86_lQ
The hands were created with plastic through the 3-D printer. Students snapped them together and added the elastic and fishing wire for the hands’ “tendons.”
Till said the “brains” behind the summer camp was Robert Marsh, department chair, Ivy Tech School of Technology.
“It’s really to expose the kids to careers in manufacturing,” Marsh said. “Jobs in these areas are going unfilled. The careers are high paying but they’re not really focused on. A lot of high-tech professional careers out there are going unfilled.”
As these students go into high school and start making decisions on careers, Marsh said the camp will give them some information on possible careers.
“It’s a fun way to get them involved and exposed to careers,” he said.
Though the design camp ended Friday, the manufacturing camp starts Monday. Students will spend time learning about Computer Numeric Control machines. They will come up with a game board design and then cut that on CNC, he said.
This is the first year for the Ivy Tech camps. There were about seven students in the design camp, and eight in next week’s manufacturing camp. Two or three students were enrolled in both weeks.
“It’s been a good deal,” Marsh said. “We’ve talked about doing this in the past. The hang-up has been the logistics. By partnering with Warsaw Community Schools, they have the transportation and the drivers, we’re providing the instruction. It’s a win-win for both of us.”
On Thursday the students took a tour of DePuy where they got to see things like artificial knees.
“These kids are amazing,” Till said. “They’re not afraid of technology. They’re not afraid to learn.”
Marsh agreed, saying the kids will dive right into technology and they’re not afraid to experiment.
While the camp only dealt with plastic 3-D printing, Marsh said they were also told about metal additive 3-D printing and biological printing.
McCammack said, “It’s pretty amazing technology. It’s definitely changing the industry and how we make products.”
A human hair is 0.003 inches. The 3-D printer prints 0.001 inches at a time, one layer at a time. The Derby-style cars the students made were about 1,800 to 2,000 layers. Three to four cars were printed at a time, and they took about 20 hours. If one was printed at a time, Till said it would have gone quicker.
The Objet 30 3-D plastic printer cost about $35,000. Less expensive 3-D printers can be purchased for about $2,500, he said, but the printing resolution is less fine.
“This is the way we believe manufacturing will go into the future,” Till said.
All the students in the camp enjoyed their experience.
Lincoln Elementary School sixth-grader Victoria Heimbach said, “It’s really fascinating actually. It’s the first time I ever saw a car printed by itself. It’s really fun.”
She said she likes engineering and wants to go into robotics engineering.
Josiah Marsh, Whitko seventh-grader, said, “It’s a really cool experience. I like it because you get to design your own car. I’m a little frustrated with this hand because it’s not doing what I want it to do.”
Though he likes engineering and said it’s very interesting, he wants to be an astrophysicist.
“I like engineering but I like stars more,” he said.
Goshen Middle School seventh-grader Griffin Hetler, who wants to design roller coasters, said, “It’s fun because we got to design our own car. We didn’t have to design one particular car, we got to design our own car. We got to go to DePuy and Ivy Tech. We got to learn about all the printers and surgeries and stuff.”