We are always up for a new challenge at US Digital Partners, and this time the challenge was beyond the usual bounds of a web browser or mobile device. The request came for some volunteer mentors for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program’s 3D Printer Club at RA Jones Middle School in Florence, Kentucky. US Digital Partners’ web developers Lew Krehnbrink and Vince Evans and designer Kate Mock stepped up to the challenge.
The 3D Printer Club was split into small groups of 6th and 7th graders. Each student created a new invention that could be printed on a 3D printer to solve an every day problem. The 10 week program was a huge learning experience not only for the kids but also for us! Our main responsibilities as mentors were to help the kids learn a 3D CAD software called AutoDesk Inventor (and learn it ourselves), guide and support them coming up with ideas and help to bring the ideas to life in a real 3D printed model.
“It’s interesting to see and understand a 6th grader’s thought process when it comes to creating something that is intended for everyday use,” says Vince. “I think it’s awesome that schools are teaching younger generations how to use new technology to solve everyday problems that could potentially change the world.”
Kate says, “The best part of working with these kids is seeing the impact that you can make on their learning experience. Being a part of the process from uncovering a problem, planning out a solution, to actually printing out the 3D model was very rewarding for me as a mentor. The pride these kids had in their finished projects was worth every second we spent there.”
Some of the ideas the kids came up with were adjustable arm attachments for eye glasses, a pegboard shoe rack, custom iPhone case with pencil holder, and anti-spill cup holder. The award winning “Best Invention” was a clip-on shopping list and coupon holder called a “Shopping Board” won by Cooper.
The USDP designer and developers were grateful for the opportunity to think outside the box and to work with these kids. We’re looking forward to seeing them become the inventors of our future.