“I think that’s where we’re heading,” said the seventh-grade girl from Bellevue. “Honestly I think it’s going to be sooner than later.”
Arnold, the daughter of Dwayne and Jodie, is taking an eight-week class at EHOVE Career Center, the Engineering & Innovation Club. Most recently, she and other middle-school students were programming laptop computers to create a 3-D polymer ring.
“We made a paper clip last week,” said Arnold, who is home-schooled and enrolled in the club after she saw what her older brother made during a similar class. “I like this kind of stuff.”
Instructor Tony Limberios was asked what he hopes the students will learn.
“It's a great opportunity to show the power of technology and possibilities of their imagining and creating of their own design to (make a) complex, 3-D printed object,” he said. “They are makers and fabricators and the possibilities are endless. If they have the desire, they can create about anything here at EHOVE.”
Brian Willis, a NASA engineer, is an instructor and mentor for the club.
“Personally I like to see (the students) work through problems and their excitement through the progress. We are using Inventor to design a 3-D polymer ring that we will use to make a hi-temp silicon mold (and) then cast it in metal,” Limberios said.
One of the challenges that Arnold had recently was getting her computer to properly communicate with other equipment.
“My computer wasn’t working the majority of the class,” she said.
However, the teenager said “it was really easy to print” her ring measurements and if she hadn’t had the computer glitch, she estimated she could finish the project on her own in one class period.
Arnold isn’t overwhelmed with the information that the instructors give. She said it’s a matter of following what they say and if something doesn’t happen correctly, “you have to retry.”
When it comes to her vision of the future, Arnold said there is downloadable software for creating objects such as the ring, so it’s possible that if the technology is cheap enough to have at home, people could make rings instead of going to a store.
Limberios said a STEM (science, tecnhology, engineering and math) class “is a great pathway” and covers many career fields.
“STEM at EHOVE gives these students a chance to explore, plus significant head starts into a career pathway,” the instructor said. “The advancement and pace of technology and materials are amazing. Future jobs are — and will — incorporate these new technologies.
“I like to tell the STEM students that they will become makers and designers. However, above all of these things they are learning to become great problem-solvers.”