EXCELL in STEM at UNH Manchester

Its been about two months since the EXCELL in STEM program took place on the Manchester campus of UNH but it was such a great time that I still wanted to share it with all of you.  The activity that I ran introduced students to 3D printing and design.  We had both middle school and high school students in attendance, and both were awesome to work with!

The design that we chose to work with is called a penny trap and credit for both the idea and the design goes to Laura Taalman.  I have been following Laura’s work for a while at her website http://mathgrrl.com/hacktastic/ and had the opportunity to meet her this summer at Brown’s ICERM conference.

penny trap
Penny Trap

The students designed the penny traps using the free online cad software called Tinkercad. This software has a very small learning curve so it is great to use while introducing students to 3D design. It also has the ability to export a .stl file ready to be printed.

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Designing Penny Traps in Tinkercad

Once the designs were complete the students were off to send them to the printers.  We have four M3D printers that the university purchased through Kickstarter last spring.  So far they have been great albeit a little bit slower than most printers.  However, just like Tinkercad they are very user friendly and designed for “plug and play” applications.

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Starting the M3D Printers

Once the penny traps are half way through being printed it is time to insert the penny so it can be trapped inside.

insert penny

In the end each student was able to take home their own penny trap to show off a 3D printed object.  They all seemed to enjoy the day and hopefully learned a bit about STEM as well.

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