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IPS Career Technology Center using 3D printers to teach kids about engineering

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 29, 2015) - An Indianapolis school is offering kids a chance to learn about engineering in an interactive way. The IPS Career Technology Center allows students to use 3D printers on a daily basis, for free.

The "Maker Space" inside the school is filled with items designed and printed by teenagers. Students from across the school district have access to the printer lab throughout the week.

"This is something that’s awesome on a resume," said high school senior Jason Brewster. " I like the creativity, like, the artsy part."

Advanced software is used to design objects on laptops. Then, the students simply start the printing process and witness their vision come to life.

"These kids are no different than we were 50 years ago," said Kim Brand, president of a local startup called First Maker Space.  "They love to make. They're just looking for the opportunity and the place."

Each of the printers costs about $2500. The high-tech classroom tools were given to the IPS Career Center for free. Instead, Brand donated the printers in hopes of allowing students to use it during the school day for free and charging families for enrichment programs after school.

"The challenge is that getting the budget for a maker space is just out of reach for most schools," Brand said. "So we combined a little innovation with interest in parents and communities to support making in students."

A recent study found that the demand for job applicants with 3D printing skills increased more than 100 percent from 2013 to 2014. So, the skills students are learning the maker space will translate into the real world.

"I can hang engineering on a 3D printer like ornaments on Christmas tree," Brand said. "The science of physics, chemistry, electronics and pulleys."

To learn more about the maker space, contact the IPS Career Technology Center.