Bangs High School has recently added a revolutionary product to its technology department with the purchase of a MakerBot 2X Experimental 3D printer, according to Principal Vick Orlando.
Earlier this year, Orlando along with Supt. Bill Foster went to investigate Howard Payne University’s new 3-D printer acquisition. Jamie Moore and Larry Fischer who teach technology courses for Bangs accompanied the administrators on this visit.
“My jaw dropped open,” Moore said. “The potential for a printer like this is impressive. I just kept thinking about the ways we could use this technology to interact with other departments.”
The MakerBot printer makes solid, three dimensional objects out of a special melted filament. Files for the project are translated into instructions that are sent from the computer to the printer via an SD card. The filament is heated and squeezed through a nozzle onto a heated surface to build a solid object layer by layer.
After the printer was delivered last week, Fischer took the instruction manual home over the weekend and read up on how to use it.
“I’m so impressed with the simplicity of operation,” Fischer said. “It’s easy to use, but the potential is there to replicate our own designs and to create complex parts.”
What seemed like a dream when the teachers first saw one of these printers quickly became a reality.
“The investment to get started was not huge,” Moore said. “The materials are relatively inexpensive and have a long use.”
Students and faculty have been experimenting this week with creating a variety of items as they learn about the printer.
“The students are so excited that we can’t keep them away,” Fischer said. “The longest ‘print’ has taken only one hour and 15 minutes, so the kids like to stand and watch it work.”
Principal Orlando was excited to get the machine as the district looks to make curriculum changes for next year.
“This printer will help us as we start to implement new courses for the state HB 5 pathways,” Orlando said. “Our UIL academic programs have always been successful, and we believe that this printers will enhance other programs like robotics and computer programming.”
For the rest of the school year, the teachers will be learning about different ways to use the printer to benefit the campus.
“I am excited for the future,” Fischer said. “I can see ways that we can use this in art, math, science and technology.”
Moore agrees that there are also practical uses for the machine.
“If a part like a desk drawer pulls breaks, you scan the existing one and make a new one,” Moore said.