Ooty school becomes first to install 3D printer

Students thrilled to see magic box turn concepts into models

Ooty school becomes first to install 3D printer

Students at Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, were on cloud nine as they came to know that their school  became the first school to install a professional 3D printing machine in India.

As part of their Design Technology subject and New Application curriculum, the school installed a 3-D printing machine to give students a feel of the frontier areas of design and manufacturing. 3D printing technology allows students to create prototypes with less effort  and in a safer way. Students can learn CAD and produce actual models that they can hold. The machine is capable of creating 3D objects as a direct output with ABS plastic as the model making material.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, the school principal P C Thomas pointed out that the initiative is part of the school efforts to cater world-class facilities to our students.
“We are happy to announce that the school is the first of its kind in the country to install the 3D printer. We hope the talents of students should be pooled as per the latest technology,” he said.

The real person behind this path-breaking change is the design expert from IIT Delhi and design faculty Kiran Gopinath. “I approached the management to bring the 3D printing machine to help students in designing. I had the experience of using it during my college days. We don’t use it in a regular way but as part of the design efforts of the  class, focusing the prototyping aspect,” he said.

Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute was the first to publish an account of a solid model fabricated using a photopolymer rapid prototyping system. The techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data is known as rapid prototyping.

Industrial 3D printers have existed since the early 1980s and have been used extensively for prototyping and research purpose. Later, 3D printing technology underwent fascinating changes that help create surfaces, solid three dimensional objects using digital files with better quality, and accuracy in the model making process.

“I have seen printers at my dad’s office. But here a computer is connected to the 3D printer and then used to create not mere sketches or printouts, but solid, tangible objects. It is really amazing!,”  said Rahul Thomas, a student from the Grade X.

The introduction of such technologies have motivated students to a higher level, and these type of initiatives can bring wonders in the upcoming future.

“The 3D printer gives as an actual feel of the product. Unlike other machines this printer can actually make assembled working models. This is really a ‘magic box’, I am thrilled to see how our concepts turned out into real models,” said Ahad Ali, a grade 11 student.

On November 17 last year, NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore, commander on the International Space Station, installed the first 3D printer on the space station’s Columbus Science laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. The ground control on November 24 sent the printer a command to make a faceplate of the extruder’s casing, and that served as a demonstration that the printer was capable of making replacement parts for it.

While in the US, 3D printing technology is far more evolved, Indian companies are creating 3D printers for as low as Rs 20,000 for basic models. Even though China recently decided to introduce 3D printing as part of their school curriculum, this kind of an initiative is yet to gain momentum in India.

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