Three-dimensional printing is a manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital design. Essentially, students can create many objects by laying down thin layers of material, like liquid, powdered plastic, metal and cement that fuse together to follow a digital design. As Loughnane pointed out to the students in his workshop, 3D printing will play a major role in the future of manufacturing. Therefore, it’s a useful skill to teach students nearly ready to enter the workforce or collegiate universe beyond high school.
“We are going to learn 3D printing, but we are going to treat it like a microcosm of everything the 21st century is going to demand from you,” Loughnane told students last month. “As you get into the workforce, and as you try to make an impact on the world, you might find it’s not as easy as it used to be. But if you focus on just the things you’re most interested in, you can absolutely change the world in your own way.”