Students enrolled in the STEMM program at Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School recently started using a new device in the classroom that is proving to be extremely useful.

That’s because students have access to a 3D printer, a tool that is being utilized by businesses and college classrooms across the nation.

Students are now able to produce tools and parts that they otherwise don’t have access to. These items are then able to help students with projects that otherwise wouldn’t be created because of limited resources.

“One of the engineering classes is very heavy on building. When students are designing a contraption, if they need a part, they can actually build it in the 3D printer and use it,” said Eric Sieja, a STEMM teacher.

One of the key components that the printer assists students with is trouble-shooting skills. Rather than completing a project at full scale, student can now create a smaller version in the 3D printer and test their hypothesis before investing a large amount of time into the project. If the project fails on the small scale, students then know that their idea may be flawed and need to edit their project before moving forward.

In addition to enriching useful hands-on building skills, the printer also allows students to enhance their computer skills.

Using new software, students are able to design parts they may need to complete a project. This designing process allows students to sit in a similar seat engineers occupy when completing design work.

“This really opens up possibilities with what we can do,” said Sieja. “Before we were limited by what we could manufacture, what we could build…but now, as specific as students want to get, we can do it.”