3D Printers at AggieSTEM Summer Camps


For my 3D Modeling and 3D Printing classes in the AggieSTEM Summer Camps at Texas A&M University, MakerBot printers were used in the 3D Printing classes in combination with the SketchUp CAD software and TinkerCAD.

The older Replicator 1 was damaged due to frequent transportation between schools and across the Texas A&M University campus (which is under construction), but one of the other teachers from Harmony Science Academy out of Waco, TX was able to bring her new Replicator 2 which worked very well with the PLA filament students had selected for their creations. The newer system was able to be moved quickly between classes without needing to be tuned each time, as it is ruggedly built around a fully metal chassis unlike the earlier wooden design.


I generally like to build 3D Printers during extended SOLID Learning workshop series, but these students are only here for a few days so we went directly to the Makerbot which is available to schools through Makerbot’s Education program (Makerbot Academy). This allowed us to spend our limited time in class focusing on teaching the basics of Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing and its rising potential in the world the students will soon be entering as change makers and professionals.

Several of my students approached me regarding their local schools, where I hope to see more 3D Printers emerging (both commercially produced and self-fabricated). At least one student is even trying to get her Senior Class to raise money for a 3D Printer as their Senior Gift to the school! She will certainly be ready to demonstrate her skills at 3D Modeling in CAD software and creating 3D Printed examples when that day arrives!


As components arrive over the next week, I will be rebuilding the printers damaged when their wheeled cart was dropped by university students helping to move my gear past the construction areas on campus to the learning annex for the AggieSTEM summer camp classes.


Our older wooden MakerBot Replicator 1 has damage to the dual extruder carriage, with the Z-axis lead screw and build stage were knocked out of alignment.


The Cartesian-format MendelMax RepRap was forced out of square, as it was assembled from individual framing components and held together with hand-tightened bolts, while the extruder and hall-effect z-axis endstop were damaged in the fall.


Fortunately, the Delta-format RostockMax RepRap (the tallest of the printers) was secured to the cart with bungee cords and so only the filament/extruder extension (the part extending to the side of the printer’s build volume) was damaged – all of the carriages, belts and electronics continue to function. Because damage is mainly aesthetic, repairs on the RostockMax will occur after Summer Camp classes have concluded.

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