3D Thinking at GDRHS

By Jonathan O’Connor: Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Design Instructor – With appreciation to the generosity of the Groton-Dunstable Educational Foundation (GDEF) for funding this initiative and the ongoing technical support of Joe Bisbee (GD Technology Specialist.)

GDRHS-3dprinting-oconnor-3The ongoing exhibit of 3D work from our new unit in design will remain in the Commons through the Summer. The display cases feature some of our 3D printed models and poster prints of schematics. This new unit to advanced design was conceived two years ago. You can look forward to more 3D displays since 3D design is a permanent addition to our design sequence.

In 2015, we received a generous grant from the GDEF for a 3D printer: a Makerbot replicator 2x. For those who haven’t seen a 3D printer in action and have a hard time imagining how a machine might “print” a 3D model, just imagine a cake decorator making sugar roses and other forms out of squeezable frosting. Two plastic extruders hover on a track above a heated platform and can move horizontally on an x/y axis. The track itself also lifts and lowers allowing the extruders to move up and down to make a z axis in space. The extruders warm the plastic printing material so it becomes more viscous (like toothpaste) and deposits tiny micro-layers of plastic painstakingly. Once the form cools it can be removed from a heated base.

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