June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.1242.1 - 24.1242.13
The RepRap 3-D Printer Revolution in STEM EducationAttendees will understand the advantages and challenges of entering the world of open-source 3-D printing for the good of STEM education.The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) place explicit emphasis on therelationship of engineering to science while it features a number of “Disciplinary CoreIdeas” such as “Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science”. These core ideasare in fact what are being taught in most Engineering Technology (ET) curricula as the“Engineering Process” or “Design Process”. The NGSS guidelines outline this as aniterative process involving; defining the problem, developing possible solutions, andoptimizing design solutions. The NGSS guidelines for K-12 science education are presentat all grade levels at varying degrees of detail. One of the recommendations of the ASMEVision 2030 report is that Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) programs shouldstrive towards creating curricula that inspire innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.A perfect tool for realizing these K-12 science standards and university program goals isthe RepRap 3-D printer, claimed by its’ creators to be “humanity’s first general-purposeself-replicating manufacturing machine”.The RepRap Project is completely open-source with the intent to improve the design witheach generation, adding revisions to the hardware as well as software capabilities. ETfaculty and high school science teachers have a need to develop projects where studentsexperience real-world examples of design-build-test accomplished in one or twosemesters inexpensively, and with tangible results. In ET programs each student mustcomplete a two semester capstone project sequence to meet the requirements forgraduation and to comply with ABET standards. Several interdisciplinary studentprojects can be accomplished that involve creating new applications for open-source 3-Dprinters, improvements of the printers themselves or production of new printable designs.High school science teachers and university faculty have recently come together toembrace the open-source 3-D printing technology. An Innovative AdditiveManufacturing (IAM) workshop was held in the summer of 2013 where twenty-fourteachers in groups of two participated, and after 4 days of building and testing, each leftwith a working RepRap 3-D printer. In addition to the IAM workshop, two high schoolbiology teachers attended a two week graduate level 2013 summer course, “TheEngineering Process”, which is intended to introduce engineering to pre-college teachersby providing them with a meaningful experience about the process and methods thatengineers use to solve problems. These two teachers built a RepRap in two days and thenlater with their biology students successfully printed a cogwheel for a mini centrifuge.The purchased components necessary to build the RepRap are largely available athardware stores and also from several suppliers, costing approximately $550 compared tothousands for commercially available 3-D printers. The affordability of this do-it-yourselfdesign and open sourcing lends itself to direct manipulation of the machine because nowarranties are being voided as high school and/or university students “tinker” withmechanics of the 3-D printer and enjoy near-immediate gratification from experiencingthe engineering process first hand.
Irwin, J. L., & Pearce, J. M., & Anzalone, G., & Oppliger, D. E. (2014, June), The RepRap 3-D Printer Revolution in STEM Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23175
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015