This semester, Citizen Schools students are practicing innovation and learning the inner mechanics and steps required to construct a 3D printer and design 3D printed objects! Citizen Schools is partnering with long-time corporate partner SanDisk to offer 3D Printing apprenticeships at three campuses in San Jose. Over the course of 10 weeks, apprentices from Joseph George, William Sheppard, and Renaissance Academy - Fischer work with volunteer Citizen Teachers to understand basics in computer science, engineering, and design thinking.
On day one, students learned that robots aren’t just in Sci-fi movies; they’re everywhere! “Robots are changing the way people live today, and that change is accelerating” explains Citizen Teacher Bob France. “Just as how operating computers and creating computer programs - coding - are quickly becoming required skills for many jobs, so is the ability to design on a computer. Computer-Aided Design is becoming a common activity and nowhere is this seen more than the advent of at-home 3D printing.”
With a focus on innovation, students start by learning the components of a robot and how CNC Machines work (that’s a computer numerical control machine for all you non-3D Printing apprentices!). After they are comfortable with the mechanics of 3D Printing, they begin diving into the design process and how to use computer-aided design, or CAD, software. By Week 10, each 3D Printing apprentice has the opportunity to print the object they designed over the course of the semester.
This final stage of the apprenticeship, the actual 3D Printing, was France’s favorite moment as a Citizen Teacher. “3D printers make a very distinct sound,” France explained, “and the motion is kind of mesmerizing. Seeing the class reaction was really priceless! I think the reaction was partly because it is just such a cool thing to experience. But partly I believe, at least for some, that was the point where they understood that they really did it, from concept to reality.”
To see the final products from this class and meet 3D Printing students, check our events page for WOW! dates and times!