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3D Printer Project Announces Intent to Give Three 3D Printers to Local Schools


RJG, Inc.

Newton’s Road and RJG, Inc, in cooperation with TBAISD, are announcing their intent to donate up to three MakerBot 3D printers to Traverse City Area Public Schools at all grade levels. The decision came following the successful implementation of an initial printer at Traverse City West Middle School earlier this year. To determine which schools will receive the printers, a request for proposals has been prepared and will be available at Dubbed the 3D Printer Project, the group hopes to generate interest and awareness of STEM education opportunities for educators and students.  3D printers produce plastic parts in a short period of time using designs created on the computer. These designs, called solid models, can be produced from a range of software packages ranging from introductory packages geared towards elementary school students, to full-fledged design software used in industrial and architectural design.  “3D printers engage students with STEM education,” said Mike Groleau of RJG.  RJG noticed this potential after hiring high school interns from Manufacturing Technology Academy, or MTA, who brought with them strong skills in solid modeling. MTA uses 3D printers as a significant part of its curriculum, as they allow students to design, produce, and test parts in school projects, such as robotics projects. 

“When students design their own parts, they learn more than just science, math and computer skills,” says Michael George of TBAISD. “They have to turn an abstract idea into a real part.” George uses a 3D printer in his classroom, where students must create initial prototypes, get feedback from potential users, and modify their designs. “We’re teaching kids how to think critically, and be entrepreneurial. Students can design a part and then make it available globally for sale all in the same day. It looks like we are at the beginning of the next design and industrial revolution as 3D printers expand into every market sector. Today we can print cars, human body replacement parts, buildings, and even food. It is amazing.”

“Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing and the creative process,” said Bill Myers of Newton’s Road. “Given the ground breaking work in numerical control performed by John Parsons and Frank Stulen sixty years ago, Traverse City has an incredible legacy of manufacturing innovation. Newton’s Road is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with RJG to provide this opportunity to Traverse City area students and to continue this legacy.”

The project’s first 3D printer was placed at West Middle School to test the potential for the technology at a level earlier than high school. Pete Deyo has been using the printer as part of his art class, where students sculpt their designs on the computer, then print them in class. “We wanted something engaging for the students,” says Deyo. “Students have crafted custom designed Lego heads and adapted the design to function as rings as well. They learn so much about spatial reasoning, design, and the Maker philosophy.” To date, over 150 students have used the printer as part of his class. Based on what was learned at West Middle School, the 3D Printer Project is expanding its efforts to include other TCAPS schools. “Our aim is to create a collaborative effort between visionary educators throughout the school system,” says Groleau. We want teachers who are trying new approaches, seeking out best practices, adapting as they learn, and sharing experiences with others to drive innovation.” 

The announcement of the project’s request for proposals coincides with the FIRST Robotics Competition, one of the region’s largest annual STEM events, which takes place this weekend at TC Central High School gym. A 3D printer will be on display at Newton’s Road’s suite, along with information regarding this latest effort.

Interested TCAPS schools can find the application form available at In addition to a written application, a 90 second video must be submitted summarizing the proposal and showing where and how the printer will be used. Proposals must be submitted by April 30th. Newton’s Road is a locally based, 501c3 non-profit that believes our communities have a critical role to play in efforts to connect the region’s youth to robust learning experiences in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). By coordinating the enthusiasm and resources of educators, organizations, business leaders, parents and public officials, Newton’s Road aims to develop a network of advocates focused on increasing access to inspired STEM-related programming for our youth. More access to STEM-related experiences will lead to an increased awareness of college and career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and will benefit individual learners and businesses in our community.

RJG, Inc. is a recognized international leader in injection molding training, technology and resources.   RJG works with leading injection molding companies around the world to reduce costs and improve quality. Headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, RJG has over 90 employees worldwide, with offices throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

For more information, contact Mike Groleau at, or 231-463-8201.

Published Date : 4/8/2014

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