TCTC Multiplies Learning Opportunities with Fab Lab
Trumbull Career and Technical Center | Warren, Ohio
“High school students are fearless when encountering new technology,” notes Laura Henning, Media Specialist at Trumbull Career & Technical Center (TCTC). TCTC, in Warren, Ohio, serves roughly 1,000 11th and 12th graders from 20 schools.
“When I got my library degree in 2010, the term ‘maker space’ didn’t even exist,” said Henning. With support from her administration and supervisor, Henning began incorporating equipment that students could tinker with – everything from alligator clips to full robotics kits.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
The success of these efforts led TCTC to renovate the Media Center and create a Fab Lab. Completed in 2017, the Media Center Fab Lab boasts a wealth of resources, including a 54-inch Roland TrueVIS SG-540 wide-format printer/cutter, a Roland MODELA MDX-50 benchtop CNC mill, a laser engraver, a 3D scanner, three types of 3D printers, and a zSpace lab for VR applications.
“Before we had the MDX, their entries would be disqualified due to lack of precision in the boat parameters. Now the students can compete.”
Learning by Doing
The Fab Lab’s equipment is being integrated into a growing list of programs. Engineering students at TCTC have made use of the MDX-50 to bring their CAD designs to life with foam models.
Physics students use the MDX-50 to mill boats out of compressed foam or chemical wood, which they enter in the Physics Olympics. “Before we had the MDX, their entries would be disqualified due to lack of precision in the boat parameters. Now the students can compete,” said Henning.
The Roland TrueVIS SG-540 printer/cutter has allowed the Fab Lab to provide banners , window and wall clings, and signage to the school, the district, and community organizations and businesses. Students assist with the graphic design and printing, while Henning oversees production and billing. “It’s a great learning experience, plus, kids like to print,” she adds.
The students have also delved into heat transfer apparel decoration, including a run of 100 custom-printed shirts. “The versatility of the TrueVIS printer makes it a great machine for our dynamic environment,” said Henning.