Monday, April 20, 2015

Iteration...gotta love it!

Continuing from my last post where two of my students designed phone stands...a third one rose to the challenge and designed one that holds the phone in a stable way both horizontally and vertically.  Not only this, he managed to make it in less than one-third the amount of time of the original version.
It was so interesting to watch the process of iteration and how the phone stand design changed. From this...
To this...
What is even more awe-inspiring is that due to technology, my students have the opportunity to actually put the engineering-design process to work.  The work of designing and prototyping is not something for their future, but it is here and now.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3D Printing and Design

This year I have used Blendspace to create project-based learning modules for my middle school.  It's a great way to easily integrate multimedia into the learning experience and reach a diverse array of interests.  Recently, my students have started the 3D printing one which has them consider the history, possibilities, and challenges faced with this new technology.  As the culmination, they design an object and print it, after which they consider further iterations and how to make improvements.

Here's an example of a student who printed a stand for his phone so it can sit horizontally as he uses it for viewing purposes, monogrammed with his initials and all.

Total printing time was over 3 hours and the phone was not completely stable in the stand, so I asked the students to redesign their phone stand to reduce printing time AND have a more stable stand.  So they did and here is their redesign.

Print time went down...

I have another student working on a third design that is yet to be printed and will share that when it is ready.