thinking in 3d printers offer opportunities

When Somero Enterprises Design Engineer Phil Halonen wanted a new type of hood to protect the innards of a concrete screeder from daily pressure washing, he turned to an unusual source for a firm making million-dollar machines, he said at a presentation on 3D printing Wednesday at Calumet High School.Because of the part’s curvature, “prototyping it in steel would not work, and I did not want to pay for tooling on vinyl since that may not do the job,” he explained. “So I emailed the layout up here (to the college) and also a student printed it out.”He had the prototype in hand the following day, “and we are still using this part today,” said Halonen, who also serves on the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw college board.

In accordance with Calumet High School teacher Mark Bonenfant, pupils in the high school’s computer aided design classes have been working with teacher- and student-built 3D printers for approximately two-and-a-half decades, as part of a pilot program using Michigan Technological University made to eventually access printers in classrooms across the country. He said this year, physics students would also begin working with the printers.