Ivy Tech teaches younger kids about manufacturing, design during summer program

Eleven- and 12-year-olds were introduced to CAD and 3-D printing during this week’s camp at Ivy Tech in Warsaw.

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 7:08 a.m.

Twelve-year-old Evan Sailor loves programming.

So when his mom told him about Ivy Tech’s design and manufacturing summer camp, which is supposed to get kids interested in manufacturing careers, he just had to sign up.

This week the Goshen boy and his friend Griffin Hetler, also of Goshen, have been traveling to Ivy Tech’s Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Warsaw, where they joined five other area children and worked with CAD software.

They’ve designed their own race cars and later in the week they will print the cars on a 3-D printer and have a race to see which design made the fastest car. 

They also will assemble robotic arms from 3-D printed plastic pieces. 

Evan said he and Griffin are in a Lego robotics club together, which is why they are interested in programming. 

Evan hasn't used CAD before but said it’s a lot of fun. 

"I’ve tried to make all my measurements as precise as I can,” he explained, using his computer mouse to rotate his car’s design on the screen. “I’ve had to modify some things, like the weight, to qualify for the race.”

At first the truck Evan designed was too heavy, but he remedied that problem by cutting a hole out of the bottom. Now, he’s at the exact weight he needs to enter the race.

"This is software where my creation can just run wild,” Evan noted.

Griffin said he wanted to sign up for the camp because he heard campers would be able to use a 3-D printer. 

That sounded pretty cool to him, and so far designing a quality product has been easier than he thought it would be. 

This is the first year Ivy Tech has offered a design and manufacturing camp for kids in grades five through seven, but the camp is something the school has wanted to do for a while, according to Robert Marsh, department chair for the School of Technology at Ivy Tech. 

Designers and engineers from nearby company DePuy Synthes were on hand to help students with their projects Wednesday, July 9, and other area manufacturing companies will be volunteering their employees’ time as well. 

Students in the design camp will be touring the DePuy Synthes and Ivy Tech facilities before camp is over. 

The second week of camp, which runs from July 14 to 18, will cover automated manufacturing.

Marsh said students will learn how to run CNC machines and learn what kind of programming it takes to design those parts. 

Just seven kids signed up for each camp in this first year, but there is room for 20. 

Tom Till, director of advanced manufacturing at Ivy Tech’s training center, said a smaller group was just right for this first attempt introducing younger kids to manufacturing.

"This has gone about a million times better than we hoped it would,“ he said. 

The two camps cost $100 each per child, which included two meals each day and transportation provided by Warsaw Community Schools

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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