Devon Gardens Elementary Grade 4 student Koen Lavender

Meet your makers

North Delta Maker Lab imagines the future with 3D printing and laser cutting.



Photos by Boaz Joseph, The Leader

At a summer camp last year, teacher Brooke Moore got a chance to be a student alongside kids introduced to 3D printing at Delta’s first Maker Lab in Ladner.

“Before I participated, especially with the 3D printing, I was thinking, ‘we have enough plastic junk in the world. Do we really need more?’”

But Moore made a mental 180-degree turn when – and she admits it sounds trivial – she 3D-printed a pencil topper.

“I went from consumer to creator,” says the District Principal of Inquiry and Innovation at the Delta School District. “That’s what got me all excited about this tech-maker stuff.”

Moore now supervises Delta’s two Maker Labs.

The newest one opened at North Delta Secondary during spring break, when more than a dozen elementary schoolers got a chance to see the technology, including several 3D printers and a laser cutter that etched their names on pieces of wood.

“That’s the first thing they do,” said Kimball Andersen, a laser cutter operator and VP of engineering at Zen 24/7, a North Vancouver innovation company that advises schools about new technologies.

The kids were shown the results of the growing field of 3D printing: Plastic toys, figurines, vases, tools with moving parts, even a titanium spinal implant (made off-site).

The kids also modelled themselves – they were scanned with a camera and watched as the software translated slices of their image onto a growing plastic bust inside a 3D printer about the size of a microwave oven.

Nearby, one student was making adjustments on a laptop computer.

“We’re making eggbots – robots that decorate eggs,” said Siana Berar, 8, a Grade 3 student from Sunshine Hills Elementary, referring to the students’ week-long project to build a robot that involved elements of robotics, 3D printing and laser cutting.

There’s a wide variety of materials that can be used for 3D printing, said program advisor John Biehler, who has been involved with 3D printing since 2009, well before it approached being affordable or mainstream.

Among them are plastics (various types), metals, ceramics, wood, bio-materials (for medical applications) and food – chocolate is popular in some circles.

Biehler brought along two small figurines of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti – made of about 80 per cent plastic and 20 per cent copper by volume. Copper flakes were added during production.

Currently, consumer 3D printers – with varying features – can range from $200 to $3,000.

The plastic they use is fed from spools, making for clean production and little waste.

Just five grams of plastic are needed for small figures (for weight comparison, a raspberry is about a gram.)

The North Delta Maker Lab will eventually have six 3D printers, eight laptop computers (with a few extras from outside the lab), an electronics work bench (for soldering), a Sherline mill (a high-tech lathe), a 3D scanner, filament and boards (consumables) and some robotics equipment.

“The plan is for Delta teachers to take over summer school maker courses, summer maker camps, and even some potential after-school programming in the Maker Lab,” said Moore.

“We are open to community groups’ use of the space. The lab is (also) available for Delta teachers to book their classes into.”

For more information, visit https://deltalearns.ca/makerlab/

Just Posted

SFU president talks about Surrey campus expansion, need for more student seats

While the provincial government promised to double SFU’s student spaces from 2,500 to 5,000 by 2015, that hasn’t happened

Five years jail for plea in South Surrey shots-fired case

Court records show Cameron Barton pleaded guilty to four of 17 charges

VIDEO: Surrey’s newest purpose-built rental building opens in City Centre

People started moving in Nov. 1, developer expects building to be completely rented by April

OIPC audits White Rock’s handling of FOI requests

Findings to be released tomorrow morning

South Surrey child Holocaust survivor ‘just cannot forget what happened’

Alex Buckman one of two presenters to address Earl Marriott teens

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Former B.C. crime reporter pens debut children’s book

Thom Barker channels his giant dog’s phobias into theme exploring critical thinking

Most Read