Written by J.J. Johnson:
"Let me start by saying, you’ll have to follow the links at the end of this entry to get
the full picture, because they contain actual pictures of what I am about to describe.
Hopefully this will show you the incredible value in 3D printing (as if you haven’t seen it
already) and its applicability for education as a tool for inspiration and learning.
"A couple of weeks ago a paraprofessional at our school came to speak with me about a
design consideration she had involving a gait trainer for a student with a disability. The
student was eager to continue becoming more independent; therefore she wanted to use
her gait trainer to carry her backpack instead of someone else having to carry it for her.
The problem arose that the backpack would rest on a foldable chair option, which after
a short while unfolded into the path of the students legs. Long story short, this was a
problem and the paraprofessional knew that we had the design students and equipment
capable of bringing a solution to life.
Two of our students were briefed on the situation and saw the dilemma first-hand. As
with any design situation, my teacher mode kicked in and I discussed how this is a great
opportunity to apply the design process. The design process that we follow at GHS is:
Identify the problem, Set goals, Research, Develop possible solutions, Choose a solution,
Developmental work, Prototyping (3D PRINTING), Testing and Evaluation, and finally,
With the student’s initial concept, knowledge of drafting in Autodesk Inventor, and our
ability to 3D print, the first rendition of the design was printing on our H-1 3D Printer
within two hours. The next day when the students came back to school we discussed
the resulting part (which was an epic failure), and restarted the design process hoping to
refine what they had begun.
10 versions later within two weeks time,, printed on both the H-1 and the Rostock Max,
students arrived on a final solution. It was tested, evaluated and it was unanimously
decided that it would get the stamp of approval. The student loves the addition to her gait
trainer and was thrilled that people she didn’t even know would take the time to design
a custom part for her. For my students, the design process, and its cyclical pattern, was
made even more evident as they experienced this meaningful project firsthand. This was
so much more beneficial than any project I could come up with on my own. With the
incorporation of 3D printing their solution was a high quality product which they were
proud to have been able to design and print.
The two students involved put together a presentation of their work which can be found
Additionally, a local news station WSBT 22 got wind of our project and came in to
see what we were up to. You can see their story by going to: WSBT 22: Printing with