BCLUW gets new 3-D printer

CONRAD – Technology has always been at the forefront of the BCLUW School District. Now, it has one more piece of technology to show off.

The school recently bought a 3-D printer as part of its Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders program. The printer is capable of taking computer drawings and animations and bringing them to life.

Cari Teske, BCLUW High School principal, said it’s very exciting for both the staff and the students.

“It all began five years ago with the virtual reality program,” she said. “The students gained an interest and we have been watching the 3-D printers, and they have gone down in cost, so we thought now was a great time.”

After receiving an anonymous donation of $1,000, the school district was able to make up the rest of the cost of the printer with general funds. Teske said the printer and software cost roughly $2,000.

Two BCLUW students had the opportunity to experiment with the equipment last month in Virginia and helped pick out the new 3-D printer for the school.

Ben Neff, senior, and Will Garber, junior, were able to visit the Virginia Higher Education Center in July and experimented with 3-D equipment. They said it’s great that they can use a smaller version of the equipment at their school.

“I like it,” Neff said. “If something works on the computer, it might not work with the printer, so it can be challenging.”

“I think the coolest part is you can think of things you want to use and make them,” Garber said.

Students have so far made nuts and bolts, sharks, an iPhone case and other objects.

The machine works by designing an object on a specialized computer program and then sending it to the printer. The printer then heats up to 230 degrees Celsius and then melts thin strands of plastic together to make the object.

BCLUW Superintendent Ben Petty said the piece of technology is a great addition to the district.

“To be able to take technology to the next step is a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s been very student-driven.”

Teske said it’s just a great opportunity overall.

“It’s an opportunity that we are excited to see where this takes them in the future,” she said.