Robotics students print in 3-D


West Hawaii Explorations Academy’s Robotics Team is now using three-dimensional printer technology to fabricate objects of custom specifications.

The school purchased a kit earlier in the school year, and students assembled the Printrbot LC. Students create 3-D objects on a computer program, then the “virtual” version can be “printed” as an actual object, part, or component according to the specs and parameters of the program.

The printer takes 20-60 minutes to print an object, depending on size and complexity.

Objects are created by printing a thin layer of plastic, about one millimeter, that forms the base of the object, and then the printer prints the next layer, slowly layering plastic onto the previous layer. The printer repeats this layering process throughout the program until the object is complete.

WHEA Junior Josh Kuanoni-Banagan, citing one practical use already encountered, said “We had to make a (robotic) piece for a climbing mechanism, but when we tried to make them out of metal, they proved to be too wobbly. Since we knew how big they should be, we decided to create them on the computer, and then we printed them. They work amazingly well.”

 

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