Innovative Grant Brings 3D Printing to Loy Norrix

The MakerBot Replicator 2 fashions a model spaceship. The process has gone on for 3+ hours.

The MakerBot Replicator 2 fashions a model spaceship. The process has gone on for 3+ hours.

“This is the future of manufacturing,” physics teacher Trevor Stefanick said of the newest technology to breach the walls of Loy Norrix. The industrial robot to which he referred is a 3D Printer, the Makerbot Replicator 2. 3D printing is the process of creating any three-dimensional object from a digital model. The printer will recognize that model and proceed to lay down successive layers of material in the according shape.

As you can imagine, such devices do not come cheap. So how did the Loy Norrix Science Department afford such a breakthrough in technology?

“There are a set of grants that come from teaching and learning services called the innovative grants,” Stefanick explained.

For two years in a row, our science department has received more than 50 percent of the innovative grants. Last year, Science Department Head Mark Lowrie wrote the grant for the 3D printer.

“The way [Lowrie] talked about it was we really want to show kids the future of what’s happening, especially in Michigan, a state about manufacturing,” said Stefanick. “And they gave us two-thousand dollars for it.”

After spending a measly $1,999, the printer came in on Tuesday, May 13th. Stefanick assembled it himself and got it running. Many students have stopped in to view the wondrous machinery and witness advanced technology at its finest.

Tanten Buszka, a senior in Advanced Placement Physics, was enthusiastic about the printer’s debut in Stefanick’s classroom.

“It’s very cool and a huge blessing to have one,” Buszka said.

The most exciting aspect about 3D printing is its future. Scientists and technicians developed an organic printer and have successfully printed skin grafts for surgical operations.

Stefanick said, “You use your own DNA to replicate cells and that prints on a fabric mesh. The hope is to print organs.”

If these organic 3D printers have the ability to create functional organs, the medical possibilities are endless. Surgeons would no longer have to depend on organ donors for life-threatening operations. 3D printing could literally save lives.

 

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