Maker Club has had a chaotic history. Since its creation in 2018, it has changed its name three times and moved rooms twice. Nevertheless, throughout its journey what was originally known as 3D Printer Club has never lost sight of its original purpose: to provide creative students with the opportunity to use cool technologies and make new things. IB is all about creativity, from the IB projects we are asked to do in class to the dreaded 10th grade Personal Project. The Maker Club works to provide students with the tools to make anything they can imagine. Starting with the two top of the line 3D printers that Mr. Van Til worked hard to get in 2017, the Maker Club has expanded its mission statement to include all maker activities. We are currently working on a proposal to establish a full Maker Space in the old ROTC wing, opening up entirely new opportunities for City students.
The Maker Club is not just about providing tools and opportunities, we also put a lot of emphasis on learning and teaching. You don’t have to be an expert in any of these tools to join the club, quite the opposite. We accept students of any skill level, and the members with some knowledge about these tools are always happy to teach newcomers whatever they want to know.
Despite the expansion of our mission statement, the Maker Club still focuses most of our efforts on 3D printing. Using primarily the free Tinkercad 3D modeling software we design digital objects that we can print into reality. Thanks to Mr. Van Til, we have access to two high tech Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D printers which allow us to print high quality objects quickly and effectively.
As a relatively recent addition, the Maker Club has begun offering programming. One of our members has significant experience using the Unreal Engine and is happy to teach any who want to learn. The Unreal Engine is a free, professional quality game development engine made by Epic games and it is the source engine for the popular game Fortnite. Don’t imagine that games like Fortnite are its limit though. The Unreal Engine has been used by professionals to make hundreds of games across almost every platform and is provided completely free to anyone who wants to use it.
Since this article is published on the school newspaper’s website, we would be remiss not to mention that members of the Maker Club are also able to teach web design. The school newspaper is run on a platform called WordPress, and if you are interested in building your own website we offer WordPress lessons.
Anything you can imagine!
While working on the Maker Club I have been constantly reminded that we are living in the future. Last year a screwdriver I was unable to find the right part to fix a broken screwdriver, so I went over to Mr. Van Til’s room, spent five minutes modeling an adapter, waited ten minutes while the 3D printer built it, then fixed the screwdriver. In a total of 15 minutes I had created a new adapter that existed nowhere else in the world. Afterward I looked on Amazon and discovered that ordering an equivalent part would have cost $98 with a two week delivery time. While working on the proposal for the new maker space, I needed to measure the room we are requesting but I did not want to go and get a tape measure. I took out my phone, downloaded an app called AR Ruler, and took a 3D scan of the entire room that measured the dimensions of all surfaces for me. Every day we carry in our pockets tools that previous generations of science fiction writers could only dream about, tools that will change the world as we know it. Maker Club is about embracing that change and celebrating just how cool it is that we have the chance to be part of a new era. If any of that sounds exciting to you, the Maker Club meets every Wednesday in Mr. Van Til’s room until 3:30. We hope to see you there.
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