This December, high school students in Yap and Pohnpei used their own 3D printers to successfully create three dimensional models. These cutting edge, additive manufacturing machines were provided by Habele, the US non profit that also led the training.

Participating schools earned the premium 3D printers in 2020 for excellence in completing Habele’s “Robotics Certification Challenge,” a challenge requiring staff and students at high schools across Micronesia to successfully complete a robotics certification course. 3D printing provides Robo League students with even more hands on exposure to advanced technology, while giving endless opportunity for creative exploration.

The students’ first print was a reticulated, three dimensional model of a gecko lizard. This demonstrated the ability of the printers to “print in place,” or to print movable joints, without having to assemble individual parts. As the printers whirred in the background, students learned the essentials of using the machines, as well as the applications and benefits of the technology.

“The principles and coding used in these machines is directly applicable to real world manufacturing processes,” said Neil Mellen, founder of Habele. “Printers like this were used in the United States to produce parts for respirators during early days of the pandemic.”

The students also learned how 3D printing enriches their work in the Habele Robo League. In addition to printing standard replacement parts, students will be able to innovate components of their own design. Equally important, the new 3D printers will help schools reduce their dependency on imported parts for robotics, as well as other educational materials.

The Habele Robo League, which serves public and private high schools across all four Micronesian States, is funded through support from the Office of Insular Affairs. “We are proud to be part of the vibrant and empowering partnership that has characterized U.S.- Micronesian relations for so many decades,” said Mellen.

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