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Bristol Area Lions Explore 3D Printing 10/25/2016

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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John Cough shows Bristol Consolidated School’s “MakerBot Replicator 2” in action

Moving from inspiration to innovation has become easier than ever. That was the lesson learned by the Bristol Area Lions club members on their October 17 field trip to John Cough’s technology exploratorium at the Bristol Consolidated School. The Lions were treated to a demonstration of 3D printing and how a disruptive invention has facilitated teaching science through applied problem solving.

This type of printing process creates a three-dimensional object by depositing successive layers of a specialized ink. The “ink” is commonly a self-curing and hardening plastic or composite ceramic. It is extruded in repeated ultra thin layers under computer control to replicate a pre-configured digital model of varying complexity, including moving parts. Specialized software based on easily scaled and assembled objects, such as cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones, is used to visually construct the model.

Learning to use the software through a process that Cough calls “think, try, ask” is the educational goal. It combines symbolic logic, coding, simple programming, and iterative “learn and confirm” operations that become second nature to students, ages 4-14, aided by their iPads. Judging from the 3D printed robots, silver race cars, flying “machines”, musical instruments, and a bright red T-Rex skull replica (shown in the accompanying photo) that were on display, this educational investment is an immediately tangible one.

David Kolodin, the club member who arranged for the demonstration and currently serves as School Committee chairman, noted that he recruited Cough back in 1993 to bring the Bristol schools into the mainstream of computer use in education. He added, “for a little place almost in the middle of nowhere, there are some pretty cool things going on in science and technology.”

More is yet to come. Based on feedback from a very supportive community, Cough now has his eye on bringing in computer controlled machining and laser cutting to provide students “with a more workable and functional output than a piece of plastic.” The Lions are planning to stay tuned.

The next meeting will be held at 6 pm on November 7 at the Willing Workers Hall in New Harbor, with dinner again catered by Deb’s Diner and staff.

Ethan Wajer, landscaper and entrepreneur, will speak about Compost and the Planet Earth Project. To make reservations, please contact Herb Watson at 207-677-6191.

To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, call Walt Johansson at 207-677-2584.

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