There’s much talk these days about how “soft skills” are growing to be just as important than academic, technical skills for career success. The beauty of learning in a Fab Lab? You’ll acquire both! Here are five important “life-ready” skills students will learn in a Fab Lab: Resilience With 3D printing, Laser Cutting & Engraving, 3D Scanning, and CNC technology available at the ready students are able to tinker with designs and programs and make prototypes quickly and easily. This is a shift from the linear design approach of the past, that assumed that mistakes were expensive and need to be avoided. Failure becomes just a natural part of the process. This growth mindset allows kids the confidence to bounce right back from their design errors, and the liberty to learn from their mistakes. Altruism & Collaboration One of the Fab Lab charter values states “designs and processes developed in fab labs…should remain available for individuals to use and learn from.” This core principle of sharing helps foster an environment of giving to others in the community & collaborating together to make a difference. This “Sharing is Caring” outlook promotes a collective objective to improve other’s lives, through design and accessibility. Having 3D printers readily available encourages students to design and make custom solutions – on the spot – to provide help for challenges classmates and neighbors may face. Manufacturing & Lean Production What used to be only feasible in an apprenticeship or specialized vocational school, can now be taught in a Fab Lab. Access to a Fab Lab enables students to learn advanced manufacturing concepts and skills before they enter the workplace. With everything you need at your fingertips, Fab Lab users can learn to take a new idea all the way through the process of mechanical design, engineering, prototyping – even marketing it to be sold. Managing workflow in a Fab Lab teaches real-world manufacturing concepts that are applicable in today’s Industry 4.0 workplaces. “Design Thinking” & Process Design Thinking is a mindset and approach to learning, collaboration, and problem-solving. A Fab Lab is the perfect environment for cultivating design thinking in students. Like water and sunlight to plants, design mentoring paired with digital fabrication tools help students grow to thoughtfully engage in the design process. Good coaching provides students with the design vocabulary to communicate their ideas, along with the encouragement to engage in reflective and retrospective thinking about their process. The ultimate reward? Students ideas can actually come to life. Flexibility & Foresight What will the future of work & education look like? We’ve heard it said that “the most important skill to learn as you enter the job market is the ability to learn new skills.” There are many uncertainties, but the given is that jobs of the future will require versatility and an adaptable mindset. When students collaborate in a Fab Lab they learn to quickly adapt to technology and seek solutions to evolving challenges. Students in STEM programs with access to a Fab […]
Have you taken advantage of Siemens Lifelong Educational Advantage Program (L.E.A.P.)? This valuable training program offers instructional content, training and partnerships with machine tool builders to give students an advanced understanding in the areas of milling. “Currently, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs. Employers need graduates who are more than basic machine operators for basic parts cutting. Siemens CNC instruction best supports this career path from basic to advanced knowledge.”, stated Brian Hamilton, CNC education manager, Siemens Industry Inc. in an interview for EHS Today. The SINUMERIK CNC technology platform from Siemens has long dominated the world’s high-end CNC manufacturing tiers. Today, SINUMERIK CNCs are increasingly preferred by employers wanting a competitive advantage. The overall goal of this educational program is to boost the skilled manufacturing labor market – a win for both students and industry. We are happy to partner with EMCO Machine to provide Siemens Certifications for educators. This valuable 3 level (basic to advanced) program is complimentary with the purchase of any EMCO machine package. • Level 1 — ShopMill and ShopTurn • Level 2 — programGuide for Milling and Turning • Level 3 — 5-axis and High-Speed Milling Contact us today for more information.
Last week Dig It. Fab It. Make It. attendees were inspired by forward-thinking presenters, student designers and educators at the forefront of the digital fabrication movement. It’s impossible to choose one highlight so let’s break the day down: “Today we program computers and machines. Tomorrow we program matter itself” Skylar Tibbits captivated the audience with his insights on the magical power of programmable matter and the emerging ability to print biomimetically with 4D printing. Tibbits, the inventor of 4D printing, opened our eyes to a future reality where programming matter itself is as commonplace as programming today’s computers and machines. 4D printing is defined as “the fabrication of objects through the deposition of a material using a print head, nozzle, or other printer technology where the objects contain one or more additional design dimension, such as material gradation over distance or direction, response or adaptation over time, etc.” We especially enjoyed Skylar’s visionary outlook on the positive environmental impact adaptive, self-assembling architecture and design will have. The potential benefits range from cutting down waste, to reducing the carbon footprint of making and shipping objects by enabling designs to ship flat and grow into origami-like shapes, to creating clothing and footwear that adapt according to the environment. Want to hear more? Check out this interview of Skylar from Fast Company media on his vision for 4D printing in the future. Heartwarming evidence of the upward climb of females in the field of engineering as they are propelled forward with access to 3D printing technology Gina Scala, Stratasys’ Director of Global Marketing for Education, presented stories from across the world of women and girls who are making notable strides in the STEM field using 3DP to innovate and inspire. What’s more, the evidence was right in the room – we were so pleased to see that nearly half of the student innovators this year were young women! Want more? Gina provided us with this “Top 10 3D Printing Resource Guide for Educators” courtesy of Stratasys. Best in Show? An ACL Dog Brace for Izzy takes the New England Extreme Redesign Grand Prize! Emily Stys made Pentucket Regional High School proud with her winning ACL dog brace design. Born from a real-world problem, Emily was motivated by a desire to help her teacher’s dog Izzy heal from a debilitating ACL injury. Evidence showed it clearly worked as Izzy contentedly trotted around the WPI campus like a champ all day! MakerBot’s Chris Franks quipped: “When I saw her project and spoke with her it reminded me of a story that came out of Xavier University and their MakerBot Innovation Center. The community over there rallied around a dog with a leg defect to design and print prosthetic solutions for her. The thing is, I didn’t need to tell Emily this story. Not only had she heard the story but had visited Xavier and spent time at the MakerBot Innovation Center. It was that experience and the presence of the technology that […]
AET Labs recently had the pleasure of hosting a bright young intern and budding engineer from Masconomet Regional High School here at our Essex, MA headquarters. Senior Tori LeClair came to us in early April bringing with her a sharp mind, a sweet disposition and an eagerness to learn about digital fabrication and the design process. Diving right in to the fab lab world, Tori began her hands-on training 3D printing student phone case designs for the Massachusetts Skills USA Additive Manufacturing Competition using our F370 from the Stratasys Design Series. Next Tori designed a sleek original trophy which would later be presented to the winners of AET’s annual New England Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. Drawing inspiration from Thingiverse, she came up with an innovative model of a moving gear on a pedestal. After several iterations and a half-scale prototype printed on a MakerBot Replicator she was able to bring the final product to life on the Stratasys Objet Pro, a little post-processing, and voila, three very cool trophies! The following week Tori was introduced to what would quickly became her favorite digital fabrication tool – the Epilog Laser System. She caught the laser bug and went wild designing a wooden ballot box, AET gear logo magnet giveaways, coasters, a letter holder, her laptop, sports memorabilia, her dad’s phone case and the acrylic face of a clock she designed using the DIWire Bender Pro. She became so adept with the laser system we assigned her to single-handedly man the Epilog station at Dig it. Fab it. Make it. where she gave demos and interacted with over 200 educators from across New England like a seasoned pro! Tori deftly managed each task put to her, mastering a multitude of new applications, software programs and techniques and quickly became an asset to the AET team. Following graduation, she plans to attend North Shore Community College in the fall and then transfer to an engineering program to finish her degree. When asked what’s on tap for the summer she replied, “I will be doing a lot of relaxing, taking a robotics class, working on cars with my dad, skeet shooting with my grandfather and relaxing some more!” Tori has been an absolute pleasure to have on board and we wish her all the best, for her future is most assuredly bright! Thank you, Tori!