3D-printing a future: Summer Manufacturing Camp Showcase held at Hinds’ Vicksburg Campus

Published 10:32 am Monday, June 12, 2023

The Summer Manufacturing Camp Showcase was held on Friday at Hinds Community College.

Budding engineers and technicians showed off the projects they have been working on over the course of the STEM summer camp. Caitlin O’Brien is the instructor for the camp and described the students’ goals for their projects.

“They were to make a product or a service and then show how they were going to sell it, who they’re going to sell it to,” she said. “Most of them focused on a thing that kids could do.”

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Students from ages 13 to 16 worked extensively with 3D printing technology. The camp took place in the fabrication lab at the community college, and students were able to use the lab’s extensive collection of printers and CNC machines.

“There’s always a couple of kids that really, once they get into that 3D space, they get it,” O’Brien said.

She also spoke about the skills the campers are learning.

“We’re part of the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program. We’re kind of trying to show them other pathways for their future that aren’t necessarily college degree (oriented),” O’Brien said. “They can see how engineering is coming into it and how STEM is a big part of it while also being more trade-related.”

One group of campers came up with an idea for children looking for something to do in the summer. It is basically a party bus with games, social media activities and hangout spaces that can be hired to pick up teenagers on days when they have nothing to do in order to have a place to safely socialize. They showed off a scale model of the bus, which they 3D printed, as well as a business plan.

Another camper created several 3D-printed prototypes of devices designed to aid people with arthritis, including a bottle opener, a pen holder for writing and a handle used to carry multiple bags of groceries in one hand.

O’Brien added that she is excited about next summer’s camp.

The camp is a joint effort between the Vicksburg Warren School District and Hinds Community College and is sponsored by Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs, an organization run by the Foundation of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Intl.