Beginning with a public 3D printing fair on May 10th from 9am to 1pm, Garden Street Academy wants to introduce 3D printing to students attending K-12 schools in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria.
The K-12 independent school recently acquired a pair of 3D printers as the centerpiece of a student makerspace – a place where they can design and print plastic parts to build robots and other electronic gadgets.
“We’re not just getting our students ready for college, but for critical career skills beyond college,” says Bryan Kerr, the school’s Technology Director. “Employers want college graduates who are great communicators, collaborators, and problem solvers. Our makerspace is a perfect setting for students to build those skills.”
When fully operational in September, the space will also feature a laser cutter, a 3D scanner, and an array of arduino-based electronics. Next door will be a think lab – a startup-style classroom where students can brainstorm ideas for new projects or solve problems for existing ones.
According to Kerr, 3D printing isn’t readily accessible to most schools and households, but the school wants to help change that. “It’s still an emerging technology,” he says. “Costs and user-friendliness still lag far behind conventional paper printers.”
To start, the school is inviting the community to visit the campus and try out their printers at their 3D printing fair on Saturday May 10th from 9am to 1pm. “We found this very cool wifi box that allows anyone with a mobile device to sketch a simple design and have it printed by a 3D printer in a matter of minutes,” says Kerr. “Using our iPads, kids and adults can come in and print a heart or flower for Mother’s Day, their name, a sculpture, or anything else they can imagine.”
More opportunities for the community involvement will occur once the makerspace is more complete. Garden Street Academy will hold workshops late this summer to teach the basics of designing 3D objects using desktop computers and iPads. Then, beginning in September, students from all schools in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria will be able to submit objects to be printed by the makerspace for free. Garden Street Academy high school students will help select and print five designs per month.
Parents and students interested in attending the GSA Makerspace 3D Printing Fair should visit the school’s GSA Makerspace blog for more information at http://www.makerspace.gardenstreetacademy.org or contact Bryan Kerr directly by phone at 805-687-3717 x603.