When SOLO Labs no longer had a use for its most recent 3D printer used in our research and development department, Jason Miller, in our facilities department, suggested contacting Kutztown Area School District to see if they were interested in this relatively new 3D technology.
As 3D printing has evolved over the past 12 years, we have purchased multiple 3D printers and experimented with this new technology to see how it could apply to the orthotics industry today and in the future. We experimented with prototypes and gained more in-depth knowledge of 3D printing. Although our printer had served its purpose at SOLO, we knew it would be a useful and practical tool for school students.
Preparing Students for the Future
SOLO donated the Fusion F400 3D printer to the Kutztown Area School District. Dr. Scott Hand, director of Educational Technology for KASD, said his teachers and students are thrilled to accept the generous donation and begin working to develop their own prototypes in their classes. The school district is a leader in innovation and has a strong focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), asking all of their students to think like designers. Their STEAM program, called “Bright IDEAs in STEAM” focuses on innovation, design, engineering, and the arts. Their goal is to have every student from grades K-12 exposed to innovation and design through engineering and arts in all the STEAM related courses.
The innovation, design, and engineering courses in the elementary, middle, and high schools are centered on building resiliency, problem-solving skills and asking students to work through a series of steps that designers follow to solve a complex problem and create solutions. The classroom instruction combines project-based design that emphasizes inquiry, integration, design thinking, engineering design process, and blended learning. “Having 3D printers in the classroom gives our students the opportunity for hands-on experience,” added Dr. Hand. “It’s important to have authentic equipment in the classroom that is used in the manufacturing world.”
The Future of Manufacturing is Technology
Technology is an integral part of manufacturing today. By working with the local school district, SOLO can help KASD provide the necessary training, skills, and competencies needed to produce workers for the workforce of tomorrow.
SOLO stands for Serve Others, Love Others. As a second-generation, family-owned business, we continue to live that mission by sharing our time, talents, and resources with those around us.
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