Sometimes, what [students] learn in CAD class at the high school must be combined with the practical and technical limitations of the real world. What they draw must be drawn in such a way as to be printable by the machine. This is something few high school classes can teach,” says Evele.4. Log everything Students keep a careful record of all their successes and failures, an important skill that keeps the rapid prototyping process as rigorous and efficient as possible. By tracking which temperatures and infill percentages work best for each component in the robot, students are practicing scientific method and improving their attention to detail. Keep it up, Robodawgs!
120 pounds may seem like a lot of weight to most of us, but for physics teacher Michael Evele and the Robodawgs, a high school robotics team from Grandville, Michigan, it’s a tough constraint when readying their robots for competition. Luckily, nine of Evele’s students are experienced users of the school’s MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printers. Here’s how the students got their robot competition-ready. 1. Maximize strength and minimize weight The MakerBot Replicator 2X saved the day when it came to getting the Robodawgs’ robots under 120 pounds. Students experimented with infill settings to get the right amount of load-bearing strength, while minimizing weight by swapping out aluminum parts and swapping in parts 3D printed using MakerBot ABS Filament. 2. Learn better with open-ended problems “Our students have learned that what they conceive of within their own creative imaginations can be ultimately realized on the 3D printer,” says Evele, who encourages his students to stretch their creative and technical skills to the limit. Evele’s students have demonstrated their 3D printing prowess to their superintendent, visiting educators and college officials. 3. Discover real-world limits faster Not everything students model on a computer works in the real world. 3D printing is a great way to expose the practical and technical limitations of CAD models.