Robotics Club Wins 3D Printer


Colin Jones, Staff Writer

A 3D printer, to be used by the robotics club, has been added to Nita Madra’s classroom.

3D printers print 3-D objects. For example, while a 2-D printer can only print a picture of a screwdriver, a 3-D printer can produce a plastic replica screwdriver. As the technology is relatively new, 3D printers are rare and expensive. It is only within the last few years that the technology has become available to the public.

“[The robotics club] wanted one,” said Madra. “Coca-Cola was giving free printers away so we wrote an essay explaining how we could use it.”

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) holds robotics competitions and partnered with Coke to give away 3D printers to robotics teams that made persuasive cases for needing them. “We won [the printer] from an online competition by EKOCYCLE,” said senior and club business manager Jacob Ngai. “We had to write a short essay on why we wanted the 3D printer, what we would use it for, and how it could benefit out needs.”

Ngai said that under normal circumstances, the printer would cost around $1300.

“It’s an EKOCYCLE Cube,” Madra said of the printer. “The one we previously used was [woodshop teacher] Mr. Dupont’s.”

Now that they have their own, though, they can print their own parts versus buying them: a cheaper, easier solution. This will give them an advantage in tournaments.

Freshman Goldie Zhu said, “I personally do not [know how to use it], but a lot of people in the club do. We’ve already printed a lot of parts.”

Zhu said that the printer “allows our robots to get parts that would be previously hard to get.”

“It just makes our robots better,” she said.

The device is eco-friendly as well. Ngai said that “25% of the plastic used to print objects are composed of recyclable Coca-Cola bottles.”