3D printers part of the mix at Hanover H.S. - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

3D printers part of the mix at Hanover H.S.

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Senior Matthew Beach shows off a medallion he made at Hanover High School.  But Beach doesn't necessarily want to be an artist.  In fact, he's focused on engineering.

"Art starts with an idea and you make that idea a reality and the two are actually so much more similar than you would think," Beach said.

First, Beach sketched up a 3-D design on his computer.  He sent the design to the school's new 3-D printer.  He printed out a plastic model and put that model into plaster mold.  He put the mold in a kiln, melted away the plastic, filled the cavity with medal, and voilà --  a medallion.  Simple enough right?  

On this day, Gordon Spaeth, a member of the Hanover-Dresden School board got to see how the technology works. "I would like to think that even before we had machines like this you would still get kids like Matt and they would make a product that was like that, but it is the knowledge that he has now of these new tools that make that so much easier," Spaeth said.

The school is expanding its focus.  Another 3-D printer is on the way and teachers are hoping to get Computer Numeric Control Device, known as CNC, which can make objects out of a variety of materials, not just plastic.

"Kids need to get back to working with their hands, they need to be able to rapid prototype what they see and what they can design on the computer and inspire them to follow that," said teacher Kevin Lavigne.

The students using this printer are part of the school's engineering and problem solving class known as CAPPS.  A new design course that aims to integrate the printer is on the way.

 "Once we have a class up and running, to get the kids involved with businesses in the area and say, 'what can we design for you?'  Let us try to solve some of the problems that you see," Lavigne said.

A process of combining several different subjects into one -- something Beach clearly already has a handle on. "I think that is the coolest part about the whole process, especially for the art teacher. This level of technology has never been in the art department before," Beach said. "My art teacher said you have to come back next year and teach the course on 3-D printing and I was like, what?"

He may not have all the answers, but he is ahead of the curve.

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