Johnson kids can 3D print this summer, too

Two students from Johnson High School work on a design to send to a laser engraver. The kids are getting stipends to help staff the Arlington Hills Community Center’s Createch Studio, and teach others how to use Johnson High’s laser engraver and 3D printer. The equipment is on loan from the school for the summer. (Patrick Larkin/Review)
Two students from Johnson High School work on a design to send to a laser engraver. The kids are getting stipends to help staff the Arlington Hills Community Center’s Createch Studio, and teach others how to use Johnson High’s laser engraver and 3D printer. The equipment is on loan from the school for the summer. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

During the school year, some Johnson High School kids couldn’t get enough of the new 3D printers and laser engravers, which came as part of the school’s addition of aerospace and engineering curriculum back in 2013.

So, thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, they’ll be able to access them all summer at the Arlington Hills Community Center’s Createch Studio. The Createch Studio is a space in the lower level of the community center designed for teens to use creative technologies.

The newfangled equipment is being run by eight Johnson High School kids, who get a $500 stipend each to staff the machines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The project is meant to offer the students work experience, and to in turn provide instruction for other teens wanting to try out the new gear.

The kids work alongside St. Paul Public Library and Parks and Recreation staff who were trained at the high school to use the equipment. So, it’s available for use Mondays through Thursdays from 3 to 8 p.m., and Fridays 3 to 6 p.m.

Kong Thao, a junior at Johnson, decided to work on the engraver and 3D printer hoping to get job skills, pass the time, and learn more about the technologies.

He said he really enjoyed the class at Johnson, where he learned to use the machines. He said he designed and printed a six-sided die, and would like to make more things.

Since the 3D printer was not yet up and running due to some software issues, Benjamin Thao, a student from Harding High School, checked out the laser engraver with the help of the Johnson students.

They helped him lay out a design from a Disney movie to be engraved into a piece of glass for a picture frame.

Another Johnson student, Tyler, said he decided to work out of the Createch Studio this summer because it goes towards his goal of being a NASA engineer.

Not many people know how to use 3D printers, much less mentor others in how to use them, so he figures it’s something he should become familiar with.

— Patrick Larkin

 

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