3D printing is an innovative and revolutionary technological advancement that AISB has shown interest in over the years. The design curriculum has relied more and more on 3D printing, but what does its future look like at the school?
The Beginning of 3D Printing Worldwide and at AISB
3D printing is a fairly new piece of technology, but where were its true origins? In 1983, Chuck Hull created the “Stereolithography Apparatus, ” and with this new invention in 1986, he co-founded his company “3D Systems.” In 1987, his apparatus was commercially sold.
This was not only the moment that 3D printing was accessible to all but when they also proved how serious they were about their product. Consistent innovations and advancements have resulted from 3D printing, and because of its revolutionary features, the world is starting to embrace the technology more and more.
The intention of bringing 3D printers to AISB has always been to make it a large part of the design curriculum. This was done to allow students to take interest in different things, fulfill creative ambitions, and understand the printers’ capabilities as preparation for the future.
3D Printing in AISB’s Education
Grades 6 through 9 are currently learning about the fundamentals of 3D printing and its basic uses in order to capture a glimpse of the future.
Throughout the first semester of the 2017/18 year, students have created a range of products depending on their age level. We’ve highlighted some of them below.
Grade 6: Vases
Grade 7: Trophies
Grade 8: Fidget Spinners
Grade 9: Wearable Items
The Teachers Behind AISB’s 3D Printers
Phil Smith and George Iordachescu are Design teachers at the AISB, and they were interviewed regarding the use of 3D printing within their curriculum.
When asked about the origins of 3D printing in the school Iordachescu said, “As far as I remember, I don’t know exactly the dates, but it started with robotics and there were some funds from the… I think the PTO or something like this; there were some sponsorships and we bought our first printer which was that one [he points to a 3D printer in the corner], the Leapfrog.”
The Leapfrog was the first 3D printer available within the school, and with this glance of what the technology was capable of and it’s possible uses within the curriculum, everyone started to become interested. However, the hopes the school had were not possible with the technology that they had at the time.
Smith remembers that the Leapfrog was “slow and inconsistent with constant malfunction.” The printers that the school has now, the Ultimaker 3’s, are newer, “quick….and prints items with close to no faults.”
Updates to the technology are consistent, and hard to keep up with. “A lot of people don’t understand the process,” says Smith. “It’s quite expensive in terms of the filament we go through.” But he adds that it’s been a successful year, as “previously the Leapfrogs were never consistent and reliable, whereas the Ultimakers are a lot more expensive, they do a good job.”
With consistent improvements, it will be easier to give students access to the printers, because, students’ demands would be fulfilled faster. Having more efficient technology would improve their learning experience through the process of trial and error.
The Future of 3D Printing at AISB
Although the technology is great at the moment, there are always clear improvements. Regarding the future of 3D printing at AISB, Iordachescu said,”I love to see more, definitely! Each design class has at least one design project that relies on printing because it is like preparatory for the product design that is started in DP; we want to start having all the projects rely on printing.”
When Smith was asked on the future of 3D printing at AISB he responded,”The future of 3D printing would be great if we complimented it with laser cutters and CNC and stuff like that, along with other kinds of tools we would actually improve what we could do with the printers when we marry them with other pieces of equipment.”
3D printing allows students from most backgrounds to have a glance at what the future may look like. Students will have the access to technology that improves the lives of millions, in order to have an understanding of said technology and its relevance. The American International School of Bucharest is giving access to hundreds of children of what the world would look like when they’re adults, till then they can learn, adapt, and create.
*Featured Image sourced from SiliconANGLE.