The last two weeks, I have taken a huge risk in teaching and implementing a project in which I have very little expertise in, yet much interest in. 3D printing is a technology that was invented by a man with the name Chuck Hull. In the 35 years since the machine was first introduced, the technology has come a long way – to say the least. In fact, the amount of different types of materials in which filaments are now made from is unreal. Plastic. Glow in the dark. Nylon. Wood. Bronze. Magnetic iron. It’s both crazy and extremely functional as the same time! My students and I currently work with a very basic, beginner $220 model – the Monoprice Select Mini. It’s nothing fancy, can only print as big as a 4.25″ square, and works best with the standard PLA or ABS filaments, but it gets the job done for us. For a little sneak preview, this week I am going to show you some of the incredible design sketches of my students’ inventions or product design enhancements (I’ve cropped the photos to ensure complete privacy). The products will eventually be 3D printed to display and discuss the design process from draft one to the final draft at this year’s science fair. Enjoy!
Being in Guatemala, fresh, clean drinking water is very difficult to come by – particularly in the rural areas. My students were inspired by this and designed The Filtrangle (working name). It is designed to capture water vapor, mist, and fog through the fine mesh sides of the triangular prism. From there, the water condenses and gravity pulls it down to the water filter. From there, the water is stored in another section in which a valve is attached for obtaining the water. A test print was done this week and some minor adjustments are necessary such as adding finer mesh and leveling of the triangular prism.
The Ice Maker: Redesigned
This group of students were inspired by the never ending battle of standard ice cube trays confidently dropping ice on the floor when trying to obtain the cubes. The design uses an innovative cylindrical shape to minimize ice falling to the ground. The ice itself forms using the insert (seen on the right) that can easily be pull out from the cylinder. In this way, the user can remove only the amount of ice that he/she needs. A first prototype print was done this week and we noticed that the circumference of the cylinder was way too small. The students are back to the drawing board to fix the issues.
3D Printed Ribcage
Probably the most complex and innovative design of the class is the 3D printed ribcage. This design is meant to be utilized for those who have recurring ailments related to the sternum or ribcage. While a non-functional prototype will be all that is printed, the final product is meant to be expandable so that it can grow with the person who possesses it. As it expands, locking mechanisms prevent the sternum and ribs from contracting back to a previous size. This design will specifically take much more focus and creativity from the students to make functional. They expect they will need to order additional components on Amazon to ensure that the expandable design functions properly.