September 19, 2016

Our friends at  Rippl3D have created a brilliant rocket challenge that allows kids (and kids at heart) to design and print their own model rocket fins for test launch. We were thrilled for the chance to collaborate with them at the  International Manufacturing and Technology Show last week in Chicago to bring this challenge to the trade show floor.

With our rack of MakerGear M2s in tow, we set up shop in the  SmartForce Student Summit, an IMTS interactive experience that gives students the opportunity to discover some of the technologies used in advanced manufacturing, and in this case, rocket science.
A larger-than-life model rocket test silo suspended from the ceiling was outfitted with an air compressor-powered launch pad and a bullseye arrangement of baskets for students to aim their rockets. Students were challenged to create and launch a 3D printed rocket, accounting for launch pressure, launch angle, nose weight and tail fin configuration.
They were invited to choose from an assortment of pre-printed parts, or use Rippl3D's software to create a custom tail fin that we printed for them on our MakerGear M2s. 

With thousands of students streaming through the halls of IMTS, we drew crowds of students cheering for launches. And every day, we had a leaderboard tallying who earned the most points. Points were accumulated based on where the rocket landed, due to the performance and stability of their model design. Though, it should be noted that even the duds were a big hit -- some students made their rockets so heavy that after an enthusiastic count down they made it about a foot into the air before crashing into the concrete. Those received hearty cheers of their own.

Undeterred, many students who didn't have a bullseye launch their first time around went back to the drawing board to tweak their designs until they found one that gave them results. 

We loved being part of the energetic event and watching young innovators at work. Those students kept us on our toes the whole week! 

Rocket Challenge for Business

This event also got us thinking.  Not only is this challenge fun for students, it's fun for everyone! If you are a business or organization that wants to support STEM in your area, this could be a great way to connect with your community.  It's affordable, requires a limited number of supplies, and can really draw a crowd. 

If you're interested in putting on an event like this in your own community, get in touch with us to find out how. We'd love to help you get started.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by to say hello at the show, and a big congratulations to Gary Squire from JD Machine in Ogden, UT! He is our lucky winner of the  MakerGear M2 giveaway at IMTS 2016!


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