It’s a common concept that modern teenage boys whittle their lives away with video games – but Hudson Kendall of NUAMES challenges that idea.
A junior at the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science (NUAMES), an early college high school partnered with Weber State University, Kendall has built a working 3-D printer from an open-source design.
“The summer before my sophomore year, I was starting to get tired of doing nothing,” Kendall said.
He then conducted online research and came across the 3-D printer design, which stuck out to him.
The following school year, the idea surfaced again during a conversation with Bryan Rudes, an engineering teacher and robotics club supervisor at NUAMES. It seemed like a project that would benefit everyone because the engineering department at NUAMES had long been looking into purchasing a 3-D printer.
“When students come up to me with projects like this, I say ‘You’ve got to go through and do all the research, show me a laid-out plan of how everything will go and where everything should be purchased,’” Rudes said. “Up until this point, I have not had a single student come back to me.”
Kendall was the first. He showed up with an entire spreadsheet filled out with which parts were needed, where they would fit on the printer, how much they would cost, where to buy them and the like.
Construction of the printer began at the end of Kendall’s sophomore year and stretched through the summer.
The community council agreed to fund the printer after Kendall pitched the idea to them. It totaled between $600 and $700, compared to the $1,500 to $3,000 cost of commercial versions. Some parts were acquired from a hardware store and others were printed on Syracuse High’s commercial 3-D printer.
The printer will remain at NUAMES for student and faculty use because it was sponsored by the community council.
Each spool of plastic filament that the printer uses costs approximately $50.
Kendall considered that the next step of the project may be looking into finding ways to create homemade filament, which may be cheaper.
“It prints, but it’s not done,” Kendall said. He is working on perfecting the heated bed of the printer, which keeps the filament warm so it does not warp during the printing process.
In the future, Kendall hopes to see himself as an entrepreneur. He has brainstormed with friends about starting a 3-D printing business, which is still a developing idea.
Kendall said the project has helped him gain a lot of education and experience. It has given him the dedication to see an idea from the beginning to the end.
He recently presented the printer to other NUAMES students and faculty during this academic year’s opening assembly.
The 3-D printer is Kendall’s senior project, so he encouraged other kids to get started on theirs.
“It’s that spur of a moment, spark in a conversation thing,” Kendall said. “It doesn’t have to be something you’re ‘born to do.’”
Lori Drake, the NUAMES academic advisor, urged other students to follow Kendall’s lead.
“It’s important to start early so students can find something they’re really passionate about,” Drake said.
NUAMES encourages anyone else out there with big ideas to follow through.
“Your mind just grows and expands during the process,” Rudes said.
Rudes believes every student can accomplish feats like this as long as they have the curiosity, inquisitiveness and drive.