Maker Zone uses 3D printers to build EggBot with students

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Maker Zone uses 3D printers to build EggBot with students

Workshops, open days that students can work with Stephens on the project, will be held until mid-March. Photo: Heath Parish

The Maker Zone of BJU Technology Resources is hosting a collaborative engineering project called EggBot that will build a machine capable of decorating eggs.

The machine will be composed of a kit purchased by Technology Resources and a few pieces to be crafted using one of BJU’s 3D printers. Students attended an initial meeting on Feb. 22, but the project is still open to anyone who is interested. Workdays will be held from Feb. 24 to March 15 in the Maker Zone on the second floor of the Alumni building.

Sam Stephens, staff member in BJU Tech Resources, said the main goal for EggBot is the same as that of the Maker Zone: to spark innovation in students.

“The Maker Zone is a chance for students to learn about the abilities that they have…in a safe environment where they can try new things and make mistakes,” Stephens said.

Workshops, open days that students can work with Stephens on the
project, will be held until mid-March. Photo: Heath Parish

According to Stephens, no one in Tech Resources has built the project yet, a deliberate choice made to keep the project completely collaborative. Stephens hopes the environment of collaboration will relieve the pressure of the project. Students can simply watch or work their way from watching to building. Stephens stressed that no skills are necessary—only curiosity.

Stephens plans for the project to be finished in time for Easter, when EggBot will be open for students to use it to design and decorate eggs. “The machine itself creates a creative outlet because once the machine is built, then people can start creating designs to draw on little eggs,” Stephens said. The logistics for offering the opportunity to design eggs to all students will take shape after the machine’s creation, Stephens said.

Stephens’ goal for the project is a perspective change for students who believe in “creativity as a commodity,” a concept that implies that some people are creative and others are not. Every moment, Stephens said, people make choices based on information, which is inherently a creative process. For him, the goal is to teach students they can make solutions to problems rather than find a solution from someone else.

Students from several majors have also used the 3D printers for class projects. Photo: Heath Parish

Matt Gardenghi, IT director of Operations and Academic Technologies and founder of the Maker Zone, came up with the idea of EggBot with exactly that perspective change in mind. “We want to inspire students to create more than they consume,” Gardenghi said. According to him, many people struggle to view themselves as able to create things, thinking creativity is reserved for artists. “[EggBot] was a tactile way to change that,” Gardenghi said.

Gardenghi said the collaborative aspect of the project will provide an emotionally safe space where students can feel completely comfortable attempting to create. In fact, the Maker Zone purchased replacements for each of the machine’s parts because the project is designed to be a learning process for everyone involved.

“It could go horribly wrong,” Gardenghi said. “Failure is an option, and failure is part of the learning process.” If the kit works every time, he said, students would learn nothing other than to follow instructions.

After EggBot’s completion, Gardenghi plans to continue the creative process by painting designs on hollowed-out eggs— and gifting them as Christmas ornaments. Whether students participate in the building process or only design eggs, Gardenghi hopes to give students the experience of creating something, teaching them to view themselves as creators in the image of God, the original Creator.

“My end goal is that we become slightly dissatisfied with simple consumerism, and we start bringing something to the world, because I believe that’s a reflection of who God is,” Gardenghi said.