CSAIL Donates 3-D Printer to Weston Middle School

During CSAIL’s two-day Annual Review Meeting in June, lab members not only enjoyed two days of research talks from colleagues, but also a new opportunity to give back. In an effort to promote computer science education among local youths, CSAIL Director Daniela Rus asked lab members to construct a new 3-D printer to be donated to a local school system selected in a raffle.
CSAIL Principal Investigators and their children eagerly gathered after the first full day of research talks to construct the RapMan 3.2 3-D Printer in an effort led by CSAIL Assistant Director Jack Costanza, Professor Wojciech Matusik and Professor Gerald Sussman. Several hours later, participants were able to test the device, printing out several 3-D objects to the delight of onlookers.
After the printer was constructed, lab members were encouraged to vote in the raffle for their local school system, with Weston Middle School eventually selected as the winner. At the end of July, two representatives from Weston Middle School came to CSAIL for a brief training session and to pick up the assembled printer.
Jonathan Dietz, a member of the school’s Science and Technology faculty and an MIT graduate, explained that the 3-D printer will be used in a number of courses during the 2012-2013 academic year. Students in the seventh grade Design-Construction course will now be able to print individual 3-D models of the home they have designed. Students in the school’s eighth grade Special Geometry Seminar will be able to create physical models of geometric solid and constructs they are studying, while in Lego Robotics students will be able to create custom parts to utilize in their robotic creations.
Dietz also hopes to incorporate the printer into the school’s arts curriculum. The program currently includes both traditional drawing and digital media, and it is the school’s goal to bring the digital side from 2-D to 3-D with the assistance of the CSAIL-assembled printer.
“We at Weston Middle School are excited and deeply honored at the forthcoming donation of the RapMan 3.2 3-D Printer to our technology-engineering program,” wrote Dietz in a thank-you letter addressed to Rus. The faculty of the school’s Arts, Science and Technology departments, “are all eagerly looking forward to this new addition to our program. We have been dreaming about having a 3-D printer for quite some time, and your generous gift has made this a reality.”

See photos of the 3-D printer construction process in the slideshow below.
Abby Abazorius, CSAIL

Slideshow photos by Daniel Jackson