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Middle schoolers explore the world of 3D printing

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Not many kids can say that they have the opportunity to learn how to use a 3D printer while in middle school. Bill Moudy, a tech teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado, has found a way to incorporate a 3D printer from the I2P lab into his curriculum.

“We are dealing with kids from a low socio-economic status, so I want to provide them with skills that they can go out into the world and use,” Moudy said.

Moudy teaches structural, mechanical, and electrical robotics. He says that 3D printing has given him an effective way to cover all his teachingDSC_0257bases.

“Our budgets are always being cut, year after year,” Moudy said “3D printing is one of those ways that is an inexpensive way to go about our content.”

His Solidworks class is open to 8th graders who are interested in working with a variety of tools, including a 3D printer. The printer has  helped more kids participate and gain interest in the class.

“Now that we have our 3D printer, it is so much more hands on,” Moudy said. “Kids are so interested in SolidWorks because of the things they can do with it.”moudy

Robotics has always been Moudy’s passion. When he was younger, Moudy would get money for collecting aluminum cans and use it to fund his interest in building robots. It is something that now likes to pass along to his students.

“I maintained my obsession for that,” Moudy said. “I formed my own company and it became a part of my classroom. It became my special sauce.”

Moudy uses quadrotors in his classroom to engage his students. He is able to print parts of these quadrotors and save hundreds of dollars on expensive parts.

Moudy also uses the 3D printers for projects in his small business. Mostly, moudy likes to experiment with creating prototypes for designing better quadrotor models.

“I am just learning about the I2P lab,” Moudy said. “Now that I see that it is so readily available to just regular folks, I will definitely be using it to prototype parts.”

Moudy expressed his gratitude for the open source availability of the I2P lab. He admires their availability to share information and desire for innovation.

The involvement of the I2P lab and availability of having a 3D printer in his classroom has given Moudy hope for his students.

“I am not teaching kids to plastic print,” Moudy said. “I am teaching them to empower themselves.”