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3D Printed Drag Racers Help Middle School Students Learn Engineering
Posted by 3DP4E
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By Noah W. | 3DP4E

Vinny Garrison, a teacher at A.MacArthur Barr Middle School in Nanuet, NY has held a Drag Racing project designed to help students understand engineering principles through hands on experience. The project has become a standard part of the school curriculum and the eighth grade students look forward to it every year. Garrison describes the impact the project has on the student body:

“They look forward to eighth grade. It’s a project that kids remember. I have kids engineering parts – parts that don’t exist. Last year was the first year we started 3D printing wheels; it’s doubled the engineering aspect of it really. They are going to get to college and teacher is going to be, ‘Oh, you’re good. You know how to do this.’”

Each student is given a foot long block of wood to carve into their racer. Students then design their own wheels using 3D design software and then print them on the school's MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D printers. The school will also be getting a Makerbot Replicator Mini in the fall.

These races get pretty close. The record times have dropped from 0.701 to 0.643 seconds since the introduction of 3D printing, and wheels weigh as little as eight-tenths of a gram.

The middle school treats the machines as simply additional tools available to students and is representative of the level of integration that this type of manufacturing is achieving for this generation.

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Posted on January 7, 2015
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