Upward Bound Students Build 3D Printed ‘Infinite City’ During Camp at APSU


CLARKSVILLE, TN – Every summer, Tri-County Upward Bound Students of Houston, Cheatham, and Stewart counties move into the residence halls of Austin Peay State University for a six-week residential experience.

Students take classes in math, laboratory science, literature, and writing, and go on weekly field trips. Through a Governor’s Grant for Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) from Tennessee Higher Education Commissionsome students also took a 3D printing course.

Over five weeks in June and July, students learned the 3D printing skills they needed to build an infinite city – a block of LED-lit buildings placed in a mirrored box, creating the illusion of a endless cyberpunk city.

“It’s not based on anything I’ve seen – I actually haven’t found many reference photos for a four-way infinite hypercube like this,” said Blue Tinsley, a student in English from Austin Peay who, with his mastery of 3D printing, moved on to help teach the class. “But I was trying to find a project that each of these students could use, and I wanted to use our tape printer.

“By the end of the course, they will be pretty good at using 3D printers – knowing how supports work and how filament and material work,” he added.

Tinsley led the last four weeks of classes after Mason Cordell, GIS systems engineer at Austin Peay GIS Centertaught the basics of 3D for the first week.

“I taught them the basics and some of the common vocabulary used in the industry, so they were ready to focus more on the modeling aspect of 3D printing,” Cordell said.

During the first week, the students were already printing Christmas decorations and miniatures for their Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

And at the end of week 5, they unveiled their futuristic city at a graduation ceremony on July 8. Tinsley surprised the students by detaching their buildings from the block and letting them take the structures home.

A glimpse of the future

Bo Hall, a senior entering Cheatham County Central Secondary School, has been participating in Tri-County Upward Bound since his first year. He wants to study business and psychology at university.

“I’m working on Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated (from the Disney show “Phineas and Ferb), and it’s a bit difficult because the building is tilted on three of the four sides, and you have to bring the lines down on those sides,” he said, “It’s hard, but it’s fun.”

Nevaeh McMinnis, a new senior at Stewart County High School, said classes like the 3D Printing Course and the Tri-County Upward Bound program do more than prepare students for college.

“I don’t think I would be where I am now without this program,” she said. “These people (in Upward Bound) are the most understanding people I’ve ever met. They understand everything. They listen to you. They care.

“I was going through a lot, and this program pulled me up and showed me I had a future,” said McMinnis, who wants to be a K-5 teacher after college.

Abigail Provost, a homeschooled senior in Stewart County who wants to become a psychiatrist, agreed with McMinnis. The two met through Tri-County Upward Bound.

“It’s not like regular school,” she says. “It’s open and free. Classes like this are fun, all around.

Hannah Bush, a new student at Houston County High School, said the 3D printing lesson was the most fun she’s ever had in a class, especially because of the creative freedom Tinsley gave the students. to build their projects.

“It makes suggestions, but you can have fun with it and do it yourself,” she said.

Bush plans to be a veterinarian after college.

“I’m going to be in school for a long time after high school,” she said. “So (this program) is going to help anyway. It’s going to look good on a college application.

A bridge to work

The 3D printing class represented Austin Peay’s role in the Bridge to Work program, a partnership with Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Dickson and Clarksville and Nashville State Community College. Austin Peay’s role is to provide industrial manufacturing skills to participating students of the Manufacturing Technology Institute, the official name of the five-week 3D printing course.

Austin Peay used part of the GIVE grant to buy 3D printers for the class. Later this summer, APSU will donate the printers to each of the three school systems participating in Tri-County Upward Bound. Austin Peay will also host a teacher training workshop to prepare teachers to use 3D printers in their classrooms. In addition to providing the 3D printers to schools, APSU will also provide many 3D printer supplies, enabling schools to use 3D printers for years to come.

In the classroom, students learn the basic coding needed for 3D printing and leadership, math and communication skills, said Dr. Chad Brooks, vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Students also earn a 3D printing certificate and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration certificate.

“Upward Bound allows students to stay on campus and have other wonderful experiences,” Brooks said. “Upward Bound focuses on getting kids into college while MTI camp is career training for anything that can include college or they could apply for high paying jobs at LG, Hankook, Bridgestone, etc. . But I am very excited about the stories of these students. will tell their friends and family in their schools and hometowns. Enthusiasm for learning is a wonderful gift for anyone.


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