Elida students make the virtual, reality with 3D printing

Computer technology students at Elida High School are helping art students bring their creations to life.

To do that they are using virtual reality and a 3D printer recently bought by the school's entrepreneurial club Grit9. Art students will design an object using the VR system and then Grit9 students will download the file and feed it into the printer, bringing a more well-rounded approach to the 3D printing experience.

"It's one thing to just download a model and just print something," says computer science teacher Mark Suter. "Anybody can do that. It's a whole other thing to completely design it out of thin air and that kind of stuff is more meaningful. They can see, okay, what is the subtractive method of sculpture?"

It is also a chance for the art students to express their creativity in a new and different way than they are used to.

"Usually my things are flat or I have to paint them myself, and it just came out and it was ready," says sophomore art student Kami Moening,16. "It opened me up to a new idea of sculpting. Instead of just using clay and forming with my hands or the clay tools, I was doing it differently."

And for the computer technology students, they get experience with a relatively new technology that they may need to know in the future.

"I think it's going to benefit me because if I have already had access to the technology in the past, I'll be already advanced enough to start using it at a more advanced level than just creating a circle or a sphere into the point of already doing more with it than possibly other people who haven't had access to the technology in the past," says sophomore Grit9 member Jack Earl, 15. 

Many of the pieces will be a part of a 3D printed art show planned to be held at the end of the school year. It will be one of, if not the first, of its kind of Ohio.