Scouting Skills Are Going Way Beyond Building Benches

By April 27, 2017 No Comments

When you were in Scouts, you probably built a bench or two. Or did some other woodworking project.

Today’s scouts still get that hands-on experience, but it looks a little different.

They’re using 3D printing to create things, too.

And they’ve been doing it for a while. As early as 2014, if not before.

Combining Creative Projects and Philanthropy

Probably the most well-known combination of Scouts and 3D printing is a collaboration with e-NABLE’s Hands Without Borders initiative.

Several Scout groups in the Baltimore, Maryland area gathered together November 1, 2014, to assemble hands made with e-NABLE’s hand device 3D file.

They did very little with actual 3D printers, though. The group focused on assembling hands (since these hands currently require more than the 3D printed parts) from parts that had already been printed.

It would be great to see these workshops take place over several weeks: first setting up the 3D printers to print the parts, then coming back to later to assemble – starting a new print every time one completed.

But that’s okay. There are Scout groups who are actually learning how to use – and using – 3D printers. There’s even a badge for 3D printing.

NVBOTS Brings 3D Printing to Massachusetts Boy Scout STEM Camp

In 2015, NVBOTS worked with the Boy Scouts of America Boston Minutemen Council to create a program for Boy and Cub Scouts who attended Camp Sayre STEM Camp.

After receiving instruction on 3D printing and how it works, the 3D printer provided by NVBOTS was available to the Scouts all day, every day – and it continued operating after hours so they could print more stuff.

The Children’s Museum and Intro to 3D Printing

The Children’s Museum of Bloomsburg, PA hosted an “Intro to 3D Printing” class¬†on February 3, 2017. The Scouts focused on learning to draw 3D models and how the 3D printing process works.

The best part of this class? Bloomsburg, PA is located far from any city centers, so those participating that day probably had little exposure to 3D printing and its possibilities before then.

Don’t Worry – the Girls Are in On It, Too

Girl Scout troops are just as excited about 3D printing. A troop based in Irvine, CA visited GoEngineer’s Santa Ana office in 2014 to learn about 3D printing.

And while they were there, the girls designed and printed their own versions of the iconic Thin Mint cookie, then got to watch them print. Unfortunately, this non-edible version (they printed the cookies with ABS plastic) is not going to ease your craving for Girl Scout cookies.

Fostering Interest in Science and Technology

Scouts already are known for getting involved with the community and fostering skills not necessarily taught in other places. But hopefully introducing 3D printing, and all that you can do with it, to these children will result in even more cool stuff in the future.