Using ingenuity, teamwork and the cutting-edge 3D printers at Amarillo College, first-year engineering students engaged in group projects this semester in response to specific requests from departments College-wide.
For instance, some students in Amanda Kuker’s Introduction to Engineering class were tasked with developing an all-weather outdoor media stand for the Mass Media Department.
The prototype they came up with might one day be produced full scale and be used for dispensing the department’s award-winning, student-produced publications.
That project and many more will be on display during the College’s STEM Symposium, a poster competition from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at the STEM Research Center on the Washington Street Campus.
Eighteen teams comprised of about 100 students – predominantly engineering majors – will display the results of their research and development at the competitive Symposium.
“With engineering it’s really common to have a design project incorporated somewhere in the actual curriculum, so we asked all the departments at AC what they need, and our student engineers began problem-solving,” Kuker, an instructor of mathematics, said.
“It gives students the real-world experience so that they’re successful later on,” she said. “They’ve worked diligently and we’ll have many fantastic projects to examine and assess at the Symposium.”
That includes the media stand, a weather-proof dispenser with LED lights that Kuker characterizes as “feasible and usable.” It was designed by a six-member team led by Jerran Givens and Fallon Platt. The other students on the team are Jaziel Castaneda, Chandler Day, Emmanuel Lujan and Omar Macias.
A full-scale finished product would cost about $400 to create on a 3D printer, mainly due to the high cost of the plastic filament; however, the design team, with a 3D-printed prototype in tow, is pursuing various opportunities for funding their media stand.
“The reason we think it would be a good idea to have an outdoor newsstand is because everything’s always inside,” Givens said. “It’s not always convenient for people that are just trying to hurry to class, but if it’s outside by the clock tower they can just get a copy as they’re going to class.
“With the attractive look that we’re going to give it they’ll be like, ‘oh look, there’s a newspaper – let’s go ahead and read it and see what it says,’ because it looks visually appealing.”