PLTW program receives new 3D printer, new opportunities inbound


Tannen Holt

South’s Intro to Engineering and design recently used the new printer to make phone holders, which every student got to take home. No phones in school!

Tannen Holt, Staff Writer

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nationwide program that teaches students the fundamentals of engineering. South offers a handful of different courses for aspiring engineers, including Intro to Engineering, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, Civil Engineering, and various others, covering some of the many different fields of engineering. 

South’s PLTW program acquired a new 3D printer this year, due to the previous being out of warranty and the expensive maintenance. The new model is a Stratasyt F120, a $12,000 machine paid for by the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education grant.

As the grant’s name suggests, the Perkins Act allocates funding for vocational-technical programs, and first originated in 1917 as the Smith-Hughes Act. It has gone through 1 rename and many revisions (currently it’s the Perkins IV as of 2006).

“The [3D printer] we had was out of warranty, and it was like $10,000 any time they had to come out and fix anything. They’re really expensive to maintain,” Said engineering teacher Bill Ruff.

The old 3D printer is now at Edison High School, who doesn’t have a PLTW program but instead will be used for a computer aided design class.

“This particular model is brand new. We got one of the first ones that was delivered to anybody,” said engineering teacher Jesse Sirovy. “It comes with a little bit more support, and with the money we also bought a warranty. All in all it operates cheaper, even though the initial investment [was expensive].”

The Stratasyt F120 is compact, at just 35” tall by 34.25” wide. It’s quiet, easy to use, and quick. 

“I like the fact that it’s super quiet. The bigger [3D printer] that we have that doesn’t get replaced is so noisy you can’t even hardly be in the room,” Sirovy said as the new printer lightly hummed in the background. “I think this one is gonna be [my favorite].”

So far the printer has stood up to the hype. Sirovy used it to make flash card holders, which were used at the start of the school year to hold up name tags. Recently it was used to make phone holders (which Sirovy assured weren’t meant for in school usage) by students in Intro to Engineering and Design classes.