I established a 3D Maker Club at the Confederation Centre Public Library in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, with the objective of enabling individuals to “make what you dream”. I ran the Club during the summer of 2019, and worked with 18 full-time registered members of the Club on how to do Computer-Aided Designing (CAD), how to assemble and operate a 3d printer, as well as how to post-process 3d printed objects and maintain equipment. The Club ran on weekends for 2 hours per week. Throughout weekly meetings during the summer months, I ran the club according to a self-designed curriculum. For the first week, I conducted an introduction to the 3D Maker Club and talked about how the technology is evolving and being applied to world-leading industries. At the same time, I demonstrated 3d-printed tugboat prototypes to club members to represent the advancement of the technology and how it is being domesticated rapidly. Additionally, I was able to install critical CAD Softwares on team members’ computers. For the second and third week, I dedicated time to teach the Club regarding 2D and 3D designing functions and how to turn their imagination to digital objects. Throughout those two weeks, club members expanded upon their creativity and were able to complete various objectives using CAD to create digital models. In the fourth week, club members were given the task to assemble their own 3d printers in groups, and the club was able to completely assemble 3 3d printers throughout the duration of 2 hours. With the time left, teams were prompted to use the 3d printers to print their designs from weeks before. In the last week, club members learned about the maintenance of 3d printers, how to post-process 3d prints (ie. sanding), and celebrated their achievements through a pizza party and the presentation of participation awards. Throughout the 3D Maker Club journey, individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences were given the opportunity to learn what 3d printing is, how to CAD, assemble and use a 3d printer, as well as to maintain equipment, and were given a well-rounded introduction to the 3d printing industry.
Additionally, the Club was also able to assist in the process of a CBC interview regarding their endeavours, which at the same time promoted Duke of E and CSC through two CBC articles online.
I was able to recruit and involve various like-minded peers throughout this project through reaching out to them regarding the initiative, demonstrating my passion for serving the community, and convincing them to support me throughout the process.
For instance, I went through a rigorous process in terms of proposing the 3D Maker Club idea to the Confederation Centre Library, and worked with various staff members and executive members to discuss the various risks and rewards in regards to running the program. This involved meetings with the library staff in charge of external affairs and specialty programs, the Friends of the Confed Centre which oversees community workshops at the Library, as well as community mentors who shared valuable insight regarding running a club.
Additionally, during the program, various staff members at the Library was involved with the Club in terms of setting up and clean up. At the same time, as the equipment was intended to be donated to the library and later set-up as a free 3d printing service, one of the staff members attended the club to learn about the operation of 3d printers and 3d designing, at the same time serving as the coordinator for other staff members.
Furthermore, in order to gather pictures, I was able to find a volunteer photographer (high school graduate) to take pictures throughout the Club meetings. While passionate about photography, the individual was also able to learn about CAD and 3d printing, and actively contributed to the Club activities in terms of assembling a 3d printer and helping others with design.
I believe that collaboration is crucial for hosting a successful project in the community, I am grateful for like-minded peers who were willing to help me and support me throughout my journey in running the 3D Maker Club.
I was able to promote the 3D Maker Club at the annual DiverseCity Multicultural Festival in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. During the event, hundreds of individuals attend, many who visited the booth. I have estimated around 250 individuals who visited my booth and asked about the 3D Maker Club or have taken promotional materials (ie flyers and keychains), in addition to the individuals who signed up on the spot. During the Club meetings, there was a total of 18 full-time members of the Club through the months of June to August.
My project was intended to engage members of the community who were passionate to learn about 3d printing, no matter their background, age, and experience with the technology. My objective for running the club was to give any interested individual the opportunity and the resources to learn about amazing technological advancements in the 21st century, and spark interest in further development in the field of 3d printing after the club activities.
I was able to achieve my objective. The Club hosted a diverse group of members, ranging from youth (students in high school) to individuals in the workforce to the elderly who are fascinated by 3d printers. After the club meetings, I was inspired when I learned that individuals of the club were interested in pursuing further education in the field of 3d printing. For instance, one of the members mentioned that because of the Club, they have enrolled in a university course which teaches 3d designing on a more in-depth level.
My team created a safe and inclusive learning environment for all athletes and coaches. We saw a huge increase in coach knowledge and confidence throughout the weekend. Some of our coaches from rural communities were not comfortable in the water themselves and relied on videos to train their athletes. These coaches were so eager to learn and did exceptionally well throughout the weekend. Many of our youth coaches knew how to swim but were uncomfortable teaching athletes with intellectual disabilities. Our youth coaches did fantastic as well! We taught them how to break down a skill into small components. We taught them to use verbal and visual instructions to help all athletes understand.
Our athletes had an incredibly successful weekend as well. We had athletes of all abilities at our swim camp and every athlete made huge strides throughout the weekend. All of the athletes improved their swimming skills, gained confidence, and had fun. One of our athletes started to swim front crawl with her eyes in the water. This was a big milestone for her as she had been swimming with her head out of the water for a number of years. Another athlete learned how to do a flip turn which he had never been instructed to do before. One athlete from a rural community had never been to a Special Olympics event like this before. His family was so excited and proud to watch him interact with other athletes and learn to swim. As a coach, I was so proud to watch each, and every athlete learns something new. All of the coaches were patient and encouraging. I was asked to travel to some of our rural communities to deliver more camps for all of the athletes. I am really looking forward to continuing this project with my peers.
I learned so much during the preparation, promotion, operation, and conclusion of the 3D Maker Club.
During the project proposal stage of the project, I learned that proposing a project to a government-run organization is time-consuming and intense. For instance, I scheduled numerous calls and in-person emails with library staff and officials, as well as various email exchanges in an effort to confirm the details. I learned through this stage of the project to better manage time and plan ahead.
Additionally, during the promotion of the project, I learned that true passion is contagious, and I am able to inspire others to be interested in something as long as I show motivation, experience, and expertise. Because I have worked with 3d printing technologies for many years, I was able to attract various club members during the DiverseCity Multicultural Festival through sharing my expertise in the technology.
Likewise, while running the 3D Maker Club, I realized that different individuals with diverse backgrounds have different needs. For instance, one of the club members was unable to sit for a long time because of a medical condition. Aware of that, I was able to accommodate by acquiring a wheeled chair from the library, so the individual could move the chair, stand up, and walk around without the use of excessive force. Similarly, I observed that everyone learned at a different pace. For instance, during the workshops where I lectured about CAD, while some individuals were familiar with the concept and adventurously explored the software, others may learn at a slower pace and require further instructions. This demonstrates that in order for a project to be completely inclusive, everyone’s needs have to be accounted for.
Furthermore, I learned from helping the library set up the 3D MakerSpace that a lot of people are passionate about serving the public and fulfilling the community’s needs. The library staff members who helped with the 3D Maker Club informed me that they worked at the library not because of financial reasons, but because they wanted to contribute to the well-being of the public in terms of literacy and equality in access to literature. The staff member who volunteered to run the 3d printing service aspired to introduce even more individuals to the technology and help them develop their creativity and innovation into physical reality. Being aware of the fact that many other individuals are passionate servant-leaders inspires me to further my endeavors in the future.
If I was to conduct this project again, the only thing I would change is to leave myself with sufficient time to prepare for meetings and events. Running a club is more time-consuming than I expected, and in order to improve upon the course content and quality of experience for club members, I should leave more time for preparation and set-up.
Andrew Chen talks about his 3D Maker Club during Passion to Purpose 2019 at Acadia University, Wolfville, NS.