Because Texas is indeed the ‘Heart of Manufacturing,’ that is the theme for this year’s HOUSTEX Student Summit, sponsored by SME, which endeavors to introduce area high school students to the merits of a variety of careers in manufacturing, with a focus on 3D printing.
Inviting Houston-area high school students to attend and participate, SME is again coordinating their Wind Turbine Challenge — a fun, interactive project which encourages students to use all the STEM curriculum skills (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) to design and test their projects, which are 3D printed.
Held during SME’s HOUSTEX trade show next month, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, area students will have the chance to win turbine stands that are worth $600, to be displayed at their schools. For the project, they are challenged to design their own examples of the alternative energy wind turbines.
While offering competition for some of the best and bright area minds, the challenge program is smart and positive in its own right as it incorporates a fun way to learn about uses for 3D printing, garners enthusiasm for and interest in career goals for manufacturing, and focuses on teaching students how alternative energy sources are designed, and how they work. Kids get to jump right in and see how they can make an immediate difference with alternative energy — and if they win, they will be taking it back to school with them, fostering attention through their entire school.
Number one in the region for manufacturing and employing people in jobs pertaining to industrial products, over 250,000 individuals are employed in Houston’s industrial and manufacturing sector. And it’s apparent they have and will continue to have a lot of empty seats to fill, as qualified professionals are difficult to find with the required skill sets. The organization states that many hundreds of thousands of jobs will be available in machinist positions, as well as welding, mechanic, and engineering jobs. The summit is an opportunity to highlight what needs and requirements are emerging in the future workforce, as well as giving students an idea of what the career opportunities for them are.
For the challenge they are asked to create their own blades for the wind turbines, including:
- Number of blades
The turbines will be 3D printed on the spot for the students, at the trade show. Each turbine will then be tested in a virtual wind tunnel, with the goal being to see who can produce the turbine with the most RPMs.