3D Printer extends learning beyond classroom

ChicoPut a group of 16- to 18-yar old high school students in a room with a Dimension 3D printer  and you'll be surprised at what transpires.

"We believe in using 21st century technology in the classroom to best prepare students for success in the field of engineering," said Mike Bruggeman, IT instructor at Chico High School. Several opportunities with local business, however, are teaching his students even more.

Two former students, now part of the successful Kleen Kanteen company, sought Bruggeman's advice about product design issues. He recommended using ABS plastic models, then put his class to work designing and creating prototypeswith rapid plastic prototyping equipment for production in China. The class' design work is featured in the company's new product line.

Another local business heard about the students' work and subsequently, Dillon Silverman, a student, now has a part-time "real world" job helping invent and prototype parts for Westside Research, which designs and manufactures cargo, ski and bike racks for the automotive industry.

"It's possible to get the job done without it, but having the Diminsion 3D Printer saves us endless amounts of time and costs and I rely on it heavily," said Silverman. With this relevant, early work experience, Silverman plans to attend school for mechanical engineering and mathmatics.

Learn more about how 3D printer rapid prototyping is being used in and outside of the classroom.

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