Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!
Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!
Printing in a Whole New Dimension
It’s true—you can print just about anything in three dimensions now, using a process called additive manufacturing. If you have a computerized 3-D model of something (machine parts, action figures, fashionable shoes, etc.), a 3-D printer will be able to recreate it. Hold on though—someone didn’t tell Tomás that, while the objects are 3-D, they aren’t the real thing! 3-D printers these days use mostly plastic material or metal powders to “build” the objects—these materials can be melted by the printer and quickly hardened again. The printer deposits the material in layers, and you can see the object grow as more layers are added!
That’s where it starts to get interesting, though: Some people realized that if there’s a material that will melt easily and then resolidify, it can possibly be used to print with! Now they’re experimenting with more unusual materials like chocolate, sugars, textiles, and even biomatter! 3-D-printed organs, anyone?
Check it out!
If you can dream it up, you can print it. See 3-D printing in action here. If your school or home had a 3-D printer, what would you build?