April 22nd, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 22
Livingstone Range Students participate
in third industrial revolution
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Chandler Graft, 17, posing in front of his design for a fork-knife-spoon at Livingstone Range School in Lundbreck.
Pass Herald Reporter
Last week, Livingstone Range School student Chandler Graft, 17, was carefully preparing his final project for Career and Technology Studies by designing a three-in-one eating implement that can simultaneously dole, spear and cut.
“It’s a fork-spoon-knife kind of thing,” said Graft. “We learned the three basics of each and now we have to put them together into one.”
While a face laceration from a soupspoon may not sound like much of an idea, Graft, and a handful of other Grade 10 students, are actually working with a cutting edge technology that could revolutionize manufacturing and bring about a so-called ‘third industrial revolution.’
Led by instructor Rob Tkachuk, Graft and classmates Leonard Riebow, Morgan Nobles and Theo Gee are participating in a pilot course on digital manufacturing. They’re designing everything from mini utensils to rollercoasters on the computer and then printing them out using a three-dimensional (3D) printer to make solid three-dimensional objects.
Using a computer program called Solid Works, the students design a model of whatever they’re trying to create. The 3D printer builds thing by depositing layer after layer of plastic onto a tray, which is why the process is also called additive manufacturing.
The students send some of their designs to an American company to have their creations printed in metal or other materials.
“You can actually print in gold, metal and ceramic, it doesn’t have to be plastic,” said Tkachuk holding up a tiny metal printout of a mug.
The students recently used their 3D printer to fabricate a decal for a 1960s Acadian for a local car owner.
“It’s really cool technology,” said Tkachuk. “The kids are doing genuine projects for collectors.”
Tkachuk said they’ll soon be designing and building plastic gliders in collaboration with elementary school students and he even alluded to a fashion design student who is using the technique to print out dresses.
The printer costs about $3,000, the Livingstone Range School Division is funding the project.
“We’ve had a lot of fails along the way, that’s why we’re calling it bleeding edge technology,” said Tkachuk. “Getting the understanding of how to think in a three dimensional format has been tough. One of the problems we still have with a lot of this stuff is that it looked great on the screen but when we actually print the prototype we don’t appreciate the depth of scale.”
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Tkachuk will be submitting a report to the school division about the pilot project but he envisions the Livingstone Range School Division will soon offer a course in digital manufacturing. He said the school would be offering the course again in the autumn for about 20 students.
The students are also using social media to complete school projects by joining online communities who are also working with 3D printing and conferencing with other students and teachers on Google Hangout and YouTube.
“An eleven year old kid explained how to design a rollercoaster when we were totally stumped,” admitted Tkachuk. “And that’s 21st century learning.”
Though still in its infancy, economists are claiming that the combined effects of digital manufacturing will cause a third industrial revolution.
Some are claiming that the coming changes will be every bit as disruptive to manufacturing as they have been to other industries that have gone digital such as telecommunications, photography, music, publishing and films.
According to a 2009 report published by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics at the University of Patras in Patras, Greece, digital manufacturing is reducing product development times, cost and is addressing the need for customization, increased product quality, and faster response to the market.
This will empower small and medium-sized firms and individual entrepreneurs. Launching novel products will become easier and cheaper.
A February post by Cinema Blend reported that singer Katy Perry’s lawyers are following various websites and other places to look for entrepreneurs who are attempting to make money off of viral Super Bowl show sensation Left Shark.
The Left Shark story began at this year’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime show where the costumed dancer to Perry’s left was deemed much more uncoordinated compared to his “Right Shark” companion.
The next day, individual entrepreneurs armed with 3D printers were trying to make a quick buck merchandizing Left Shark models including Florida designer, Fernando Sosa who tried to sell a 3D Left Shark on the website Shapeways. He received a cease and desist letter and chose not to profit from the Left Shark model.
Perry’s lawyers are claiming she owns the copyright to the Left Shark costume.
April 22nd ~ Vol. 85 No. 22
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