Coat Conundrum

Last Updated:6/15/2023

Two EAST students from Sulphur Rock Magnet Elementary School 3D designed and printed nametags for students at their school to help them with losing jackets.

Everyone remembers digging through a lost and found closet in school. Students can be forgetful, especially in their elementary years.

Sulphur Rock Magnet Elementary School is no exception to this rule, but two EAST students created a solution to trim down the need for the lost and found.

Fourth graders Carter Mae Hill and Carter McKibben noticed that many students at their school made a habit of losing their coats during a time of year when having them is so important. To help students keep track of their jackets, Carter and Carter Mae tapped into the use of TinkerCAD.

“There were lots of lost coats sitting on the stage and no one would claim them,” Carter Mae said. “We originally wanted to create stickers for the jackets but knew they’d come off easily, so we decided to 3D print tags since they’re harder and more durable.”

The nametags feature different colors unique to each grade year, and each student will receive one tag for free. Parents will have the opportunity to purchase additional copies for just $2 apiece.

“We designed each of them with a hexagon shape and each student’s name engraved on the tag,” Carter said. “We’d prepare a batch and spend a day printing them out. When we finish a batch, we send them to the parents and offer to print more if needed.”

This was the first experience with TinkerCAD for both students, so it took the duo roughly two months to learn how to effectively use the program and create the final design for the name tags.

“It took us weeks to figure out what shape we wanted, how to create it and how to print it correctly,” Carter said. “Because one small mistake would mess up the entire tag. If the hole in the tag was too small and you couldn’t fit a keychain through it, it would all be for nothing.”

After learning how to use TinkerCAD effectively, Carter and Carter Mae began teaching their peers how to use the program as well. This not only spread their knowledge but also expedited the project by equipping other students to 3D print new tags.

“Something I find really cool is that Carter and Carter Mae taught other students how to use TinderCAD,” said Jenine Ottaway, the EAST facilitator at Sulphur Rock Magnet Elementary School. “They showed other students how to replicate the design and really used their resources to get these printed.”

Both students say they’ve fallen in love the 3D printing as a result of working on this project, and are interested in challenging themselves beyond creating nametags.

“I love 3D printing, but I do want to make something different than a tag,” Carter Mae said. “For next year, we’re brainstorming on how we can partner with a hospital to make a 3D-printed replica of a bone for educational purposes, or maybe even something that can help patients.”

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