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3D printing programmes now available in New Zealand schools

3D printing programmes now available in New Zealand schools

Hutt Intermediate School is leading the way in the Hutt Valley Region of Wellington by introducing their students to 3D printing. IT teacher Vanessa Harrold and Hard Materials Technology teacher Steve Polaczuk attended a public 3D printing introduction session in February this year and decided the information would be invaluable to their students and fit well with the school’s technology programme.

Gordon Dykes, arguably one of New Zealand’s leading ‘Fused Filament Fabrication’ 3D printer experts recently delivered an informative series of 3D printer presentations to approximately 150 students and teachers.

The 1 hour sessions – including printer demonstration - explained the different types of 3D printing and their limitations, how 3D printing is being used today and the possibilities for the future. Gordon also provided information on how the students could equip themselves for a future that will favour the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

There was no need to ask them to pay attention - Gordon’s entertaining presentation and the topic itself had them fascinated, something which was evident at question time when they came up with some unique and thought provoking ideas.

As Gordon explained “Young minds come up with concepts that show great imagination but these can often be dismissed by adults. Given the chance, these often novel ideas, can lead to real breakthroughs in technology.”

He continued by pointing out, “Teachers today have the opportunity to teach maths and science not just on a theoretical basis but with real practical applications that will set students up for the future.”

Following the successful application in November 2013 for a NZ Government Enterprise Grant, Gordon set up Wellington company fre3formDTM which manufactures and assembles 3D delta printers. The company also provides a consultancy service which includes information sessions and training on the use of 3D printers, modelling software and Arduino.

The presentations were so successful the fre3formDTM has been asked to return to Hutt Intermediate School next term to deliver the information to another group of students.


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