RJG Inc. and a local nonprofit group are donating three MakerBot desktop 3-D printers to public schools near RJG's home of Traverse City, Mich.
The decision came after the first 3-D printer was installed earlier this year at Traverse City West Middle School. RJG does training and certification for injection molding.
The nonprofit, also in Traverse City, is called Newton's Road. The organization supports STEM education [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] in schools in northern Michigan.
Newton Road's 3-D Printer Project hopes to generate interest and awareness of STEM education for students and teachers.
“3-D printers engage students with STEM education,” said Mike Groleau, project manager of RJG. Company officials noticed this after hiring high school interns from the local Manufacturing Technology Academy, who have strong skills in solid modeling. MTA uses 3-D printers in its curriculum, allowing students to design, produce and test parts on projects such as robotics.
At West Middle School, Pete Deyo's students use the printer in his art class. They sculpt their designs on the computer, then print them in class.
“We wanted something engaging for the students,” he said. “Students have crafted custom-designed Lego heads and adapted the design to function as rings as well. They learn so much about spatial reasoning, design and the Maker philosophy.”
Traverse City area schools interested in a MakerBot printer can find the application form at www.newtonsroad.org. Proposal must include a written application and a 90-second video showing where and how the printer would be used, and are due by April 30.