New printers create 3D designs, excite students about subjects of science …

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — It’s not every day that a delivery at a high school will attract a student following, but that’s exactly what happened when the ZPrinter 450 arrived at Centennial High School in Franklin.

The students were so excited they pulled out cell phones to get their picture with it. By the end of its first day in the classroom of Tim Sawyer, more than 150 students had come by to see the high-tech printer that uses drywall powder and a resin glue to build 3D images.

Sawyer told The Tennessean that many of the students who came by had never been to his engineering, architecture and design program classroom before (http://tnne.ws/urJVZD ). And 25 others stayed after school to see the first designs from the printer.

Sawyer teaches a career and technical program that includes drafting, computer assisted design, engineering and architecture. He said his upper-level classes will use the new printer.

“What we’ve never been able to do is manufacture,” said Sawyer. “They’ve never gotten to the place where they can hold it and touch it, and also see mistakes.”

Sawyer told The Tennessean that many of the students who came by had never been to his engineering, architecture and design program classroom before.

The same type of printer was also went to Summit High School where teachers described the 5-foot-tall gray machine as a magnet for students who can use it to experience the creativity that careers in science, technology, engineering and math can have.

The two schools are among a handful that have the high-end printers that cost around $35,000. Others include Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet in Metro Nashville Public Schools and Central Magnet School in Rutherford County.

Central Magnet Principal John Ash said students’ attitudes about engineering have changed due to the 3D printer.

“We have a major shortage of engineers in America. We hope to help that,” Ash said. “What’s amazing about it (the printer) is that it can make things with moving parts. And it will do colors. It makes it in layers — there’s no good way to do service to it by talking about it; you have to see it.”

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com



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