Picture it: A robot opens the school day by making the morning announcements, ticking off the remaining days of school on his fingers. This may sound like the opening scene of a science fiction flick, but it is just another school day for the students of Johns Creek High School. Meet Jarvis, a 3D printed robot created by Dr. Stephen Sweigart and his 3rd and 4th year engineering students.
Sweigart is a veteran teacher of engineering, technology and architecture. He currently teaches 9th-12th graders in the four-year Engineering Pathway at Johns Creek High School in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Sweigart first learned about 3D printing 11 years ago and has had a Stratasys uPrint SE 3D Printer in his classroom for the last decade.
“The incorporation of 3D printing has allowed me to evolve my lessons in many ways. As an architecture teacher I was able to bring students’ three dimensional drawings into fruition for them. Never before could they hold in their hand one of their drawings. In engineering it has expanded my curriculum tremendously. Not only are we able to make individual parts for a project we are building, we are now able to develop complete projects just using the 3D printer.”
Johns Creek students have used the 3D printer to create a “Rube Goldberg” machine, a waterwheel and an automated drink dispenser, but “Jarvis” definitely stands out. Sweigart first learned about 3D printed robots through an article about inmoov. “We started the project with six, year-four engineering students that had varying backgrounds in Arduino, Solidworks, project management, etc. These students started the project and got to name him [Jarvis]. The name stuck and the project expanded from there. This year Patrick Shin, a year-three engineering student, has taken on Jarvis and has moved him to new heights. He has designed new parts to add to him, added a third Arduino board and a lot of custom code.”
Sweigart explains that “Most of Jarvis is 3D printed. In addition to the printed parts you will find 23 servo motors, 3 Arduino boards, LED’s, amplified speakers, fishing line and a lot of wire. He is connected to a laptop computer running myrobotlab and is powered of a 42 amp hour 6-volt battery.”
In addition to the 3D design, 3D printing and programming skills that students gain through working on class projects, Sweigart wants his students to remember: “Never be afraid of failing and strive to learn something new every day… Find a new solution to a problem.”
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