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Sunday, October 7 • 4:00pm - 4:00pm
3D - Printing: An Advantage for High School Research

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Experimental research often needs the capability to fabricate small parts to complete apparatus for building experimental setups, more so in the case of research centered around engineering problems. Traditionally researchers depended on metal and wood working shops and other fabrication units to perform these tasks. Such facilities are rare within the school for k-12 research students. Young researchers require multiple iterations of design before they successfully assemble a workable experimental set up for their research. This becomes a costly and time-consuming exercise since it involves negotiations between students and mentors - who are novices in fabrication -and professional fabricators who find small specialized research fabrication needs not worth their time. The paradigm shift in fabrication and prototyping generated by 3D printing has significantly mitigated these hurdles since the students and mentors can design the components using freely available design software and print them at their convenience. The researchers can afford to put their design through multiple iterations and assemble a practical experimental setup. Currently there are materials available with varied properties for 3D- printing and the printers can also be modified for extrusion of pastes using 3D-printed parts. Moreover, these are affordable for k-12 research facilities.

I have been mentoring K-12 research in Engineering for the past 9 years and have done in occasionally on need basis in Physics while I taught in UAE for eight years. Using a grant funded by Orbital ATK, I introduced 3D-printing into the lab in 2012. This lead to a series of projects that used 3D-priting in prototyping for engineering research, biomechanics research, and fabricating components for experimental setups across different research labs in the school. The lab also pursues research in studying mechanical and electrical properties of 3D-printed products. 3D-printing has made our engineering research students expand the scope of international collaborative research with students form Daegu Science High School, South Korea and Hwa Chong High School, Singapore. Currently a fully functioning Digital Fabrication Club has originated out of this 3D-printing culture established by the lab. The digital fabrication experience, help the research students acquire skills in designing, fabrication, and rapid prototyping which has opened a number of opportunities to earn internships both during their high school years and after graduating from high school.Four of our students from out lab had presented their research in Construct3D 2017 and I myself have presented how to introduce 3D-printing in K-12 environment in collaboration with Josh Ajima in Construct3D 2017.

In Construct3D I will be using the Pecha Kucha Slide Show to bring out the significance of 3D-printing in making k-12 science and engineering research an accessible opportunity due to the paradigm shift it has generated in fabrication and prototyping.

avatar for Sundaram Thirukkurungudi

Sundaram Thirukkurungudi

Teacher, Lightridge HS
A K-12 STEM teacher with 37 years of cumulative experience in education, training, and research in three different countries. An experimental and Theoretical Physicist by training but found his niche in the field of education which gives opportunities to excite young minds with the... Read More →

Sunday October 7, 2018 4:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
Salon I, II, III