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2021 UIndy Engineering 3D Printing Summer Camp: Developing the Next Generation of Makers

The R. B. Annis School of Engineering and the Center for Collaborative Innovation (CCI) successfully completed the 2021 STEM summer camp with the theme; Make the Maker: UIndy Engineering 3D Printing Summer Camp

The summer camp had nine high school student campers. The camp, which combined engineering and entrepreneurial mindset development, focused on the design, fabrication, and use of 3D printers. The pre-college participants were exposed to advanced design tools as well as digital manufacturing processes at the new Annis Hall facility. Though the camps was only scheduled to run two weeks, R.B. Annis School of Engineering faculty and staff Dr. Paul Talaga, James Emery, Dr. Megan Hammond, Dr. Joan Martinez, and Dr. David Olawale worked with the students for over three weeks because of the participants’ engagement and the organizers’ commitment for campers to go home with their operational 3D printers after the camp.

According to Dr. Paul Talaga (Camp Coordinator) the camp modeled the engineering process well.  “In the real world, the answers aren’t in the back of the book. Rather than run a camp where participants used 3D printers to print trinkets, we challenged the campers to imagine, design, and build a functional 3D printer on their own. Their creativity was astounding!  Each printer was unique and contained dozens of 3D printed and waterjeted parts, each having been designed by campers who went through many iterations to verify proper fit and functionality.  The creativity, problem solving, CAD, 3D printing, and fabrication skills acquired will allow these campers to continue their creativity.”

Some of the feedback from the campers on key lessons learned included:

“Learned how to manage my time, utilize CAD software, and learned to persevere through challenges.”
“Better CAD skills and thinking of how to assemble a product”
“I learned a lot about CAD and problem solving.”

Due to support from the Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant, two high schoolers from Southport High School in Indianapolis, who would not have otherwise been able, were able to participate in the camp on full scholarships. “It is important to expose our high schoolers to advanced design and manufacturing tools as well as the entrepreneurial mindset,” said David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, “So that we may attract them to the STEM disciplines and increase their ability to solve problems that matter to our nation, irrespective of economical and social status.” The CCI works on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across UIndy and the surrounding communities.