West Hawaii Explorations Academy’s Robotics Team is using state-of-the-art, three-dimensional printer technology to fabricate objects. The school purchased a kit earlier this school year and students assembled the Printrbot LC. Students build virtual 3-D objects with a computer program, then “print” that object, part or component according to the specs and parameters of the program.
The printer takes 20 to 60 minutes to print an object, depending on size and complexity, and uses petroleum-based plastic or plant-based polyester. After the printer lays a one millimeter base, it slowly adds thin layers of plastic until the object is complete.
“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 make them in Autodesk Inventor (design software), and then we printed them. They work amazingly well,” junior Josh Kuanoni-Banagan said.
The students have printed additional items for the robot and plan to print cellphone cases and other school memorabilia.