Maker Bots join the MHS tech department

By Beau Hunter & Jacob Klein | Collaborative reporters

Imagine using a printer to produce a three-dimensional object of one’s creation. With new technology at MHS, this is now a reality. Two three-dimensional printers were recently added to the technology program instructed by Fred Hunt. Before, the Auto Cad class was structured around primarily drawing designs, but now students are able to interpret a wide view of how the designs are fabricated and advance their learning.

“The 3-D printer gives us the opportunity to actually make a model of the object,” Hunt said.

Three-dimensional printers have only been available on the market for less than five years, and Hunt was immediately drawn to them.

“The first time I saw a 3-D printer I was fascinated,” Hunt said.

Though Hunt desired the machinery, he said he was discouraged by the outrageous price at the time. But as time passed, the cost decreased and more 3-D printer products became available on the market.

Hunt discussed the idea of having this mechanism in class with his students last year. Once he decided the product would be a great aid, he used a portion of the Carl Perkins funding he receives each year to purchase both printers for $3400.

Hunt purchased the two Replicator models from the company MakerBot based out of Brooklyn, New York, which specializes in 3-D printers.

Junior Bill Fields, who has been enrolled in Hunt’s technology class for three years, has become familiar with the mechanism. He was the first student to print off one of the 3-D printers. The model, which took him three weeks to create and three hours to print, was a small Lego brick. Fields appreciates the addition of the new equipment.

“It’s helpful,” Fields said. “It lets us see what we’ve created.”

Fields is now working on a second model.

Before this year, models were created on the computer and printed out onto paper. But now with the availability of this advanced technology, Hunt and his students can produce a real replica of what they have spent so much time drawing up.

“It [the 3-D printer] gives the students a better end, it lets them see 3-D instead of 2-D,” Hunt said.

Hunt believes the future lies within the printers.

“It’s the start of something great,” Hunt said.

Besides being helpful in the classroom, Senior Curtis Ware believes 3-D printers will interpret the future. Ware, who is enrolled in one of Hunt’s technology classes, has faith the printers will motivate students to accept different professions once out of high school.

“I think it’s going to change the future of technology,” Ware said. “It will open up children’s minds to different drafting and what skills are available for them.”