During the early Covid pandemic, faced with the demand for face masks, Alkesh Shah helped the IIT alumni organization, IIT AGNE, procure 12 printers that were used to print hundreds of masks for frontline workers using the services of Bobby Whitcomb at Excelsior Comics. Now, with these printers in hand, IIT AGNE was looking to use them to introduce young students to CAD and 3D printing and to spark an interest in STEM careers. With the newly expanded ISW India Center fully operational, ISW offered their site as well as volunteer members time to assist with a pilot workshop.
Vivek Badami, from IIT AGNE, helped conceptualize the workshop and its curriculum. IIT AGNE enlisted the services of Bobby, a 3D printing guru, to run a train the trainer workshop to bring a group of 10 ISW and IIT AGNE volunteers trainers up to speed on the software and the 3D printers being used.
The pilot student 3d printing workshop was held on two consecutive weekends of March 26 & 27 and April 2nd & 3rd with six eager students ranging from Grade 6 to Grade 10. The students were introduced to an online CAD program, TinkerCAD, and very quickly were printing their first assignment on the six 3D printers in the room.
After the first class, things progressed very quickly. Students were encouraged to find pieces they liked from online repositories like Thingverse and to modify them with the CAD tools. Soon they were creating interesting objects ranging from chess pieces, dragons, and creative mutant combinations. Students learned how to create and modify objects in CAD. They quickly learned from trial and error about the dos and don’ts of 3D printing. The students were even treated to an online presentation and conversation with Jeremy Simon, founder of 3D Universe and Enable, a collective that donates 3D printed prosthetic hands to underserved communities.
Roopesh Mathur from IIT AGNE and Ashish Cowlagi from ISW provided overall instruction and were supported over the four days by Bala Balasubramanian, IP Singh and Kapeel Krishan from IIT AGNE and Anthony Thinager and Ramendra Chauhan from ISW. The workshop was offered under the ISW University umbrella and organized by Shiamin Melville, its chair. Word of the workshop was shared with the ISW Cultural & Language School students by School Director, Ruchi Chauhan.
Now with the basics under their belt and with heightened interest in the technology, ISW and IIT AGNE will be holding two follow up classes. A beginner’s class for students as young as Grade 1 which will be co-taught by some of the students who graduated from the 3D printing workshop, and an Advanced class for students who have a basic familiarity with CAD and 3D printing. These will be offered on April 30th and May 1st from 9 am to 1 pm at the ISW India Center in Shrewsbury. More info at the ISW Website.
Students with their final 3D printed projects, From L to R: