The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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3D Printer Generates Funds

3D Printer Generates Funds

JETS girls are utilizing the new Hockaday technology to bring change to the world of science for girls across Dallas.

Junior Alexandra Randolph enters the Idea Lab of the new science building; glass windows and walls outline the creative space. She approaches a small, glass box and swings its glass door open. She then proceeds to thread the plastic threading through a spool. Assuming her position in the lab chair, Randolph types away at a program on a computer that connects to the box—the box starts to pulsate with energy and the unique smell of melting plastic engulfs the room. The familiar rolling sound of a printer is expelled from the box and, after 26 minutes, the printed piece is finally revealed.

An iPhone case, with the initials “AR” cut out of the back, has just been printed.

A tray rolls out with the warm piece of plastic. Randolph takes a spatula looking instrument from the table beside her and prys the case off of the metal bed.

“It’s warm,” warns Randolph. “Don’t touch the metal!”

FUN FUNDING Sophomores Cameron Blotcky and Emily Stallings experiment by creating a jack-o-lantern with the 3D printer in the IDEA Lab.
FUN FUNDING Sophomores Cameron Blotcky and Emily Stallings experiment by creating a jack-o-lantern with the 3D printer in the IDEA Lab.

With the help of the new 3D printers on the third floor in the new lab, Randolph and the girls in her JETS, or Junior Engineering Technical Society, team will design and print iPhone cases for profit. They will conduct a community outreach program to support STEM learning in the less fortunate areas of Dallas and sell their newly produced smartphone cases.

While joining the JETS club is optional, STEM learning is not. This Hockaday science club wants to give girls and young women in the Dallas community the same opportunities that the JETS girls have had.

Randolph said that the idea for selling these cases started with a need for additional funding for the JETS of Dallas Best competition.

“We always get docked because we have a school allocated budget so we thought that we could do some fundraising. But, we ended up not needing the funds so we decided to donate them,” said Randolph.

Club sponsor and physics teacher Leon de Oliveira agrees with the opportunity to give other girls and young women in the Dallas community the chance to learn with STEM education.

“The JETS girls want to use the phone cases for fundraising so that they can help support a STEM group outside of school, while participating in a robotics competition,” de Oliveira said.

According to Randolph, Hockaday is lucky to have these resources; although, the JETS girls are not allowed to use the technology in the construction of their robots for competitions. Only props are allowed to be made from the printers.

Junior Gillian Meyer, the current president of JETS, assures everyone that these cases are relatively simple to create and will yield a profit.

“We use a template that we found online. There is an online website where people post their own designs that they make so we know that it fits, and then we just take a JPEG of whatever image we want to put on the phone; we just drag it into design and you basically press print,” Meyer said.

The website, called, contains any kind of 3D printing prototype imaginable. Users on this website are able to share their templates with others.

As of now, the cases are only being made for iPhones 4s, 4, 5 and 5s. The girls have not yet developed or located a template for the iPhone 6 case.

The cases will be sold for around $10. Students who wish to order cases can contact Alexandra Randolph at [email protected].  Customers will be able to customize these cases with their own monogram or image. Customers will also have the opportunity to select the font they wish to have on their personalized case.

“We hope that the money we donate will help give other girls and young women the opportunity to experience and become interested in engineering just like we have been able to,” said Meyer.

– Mary-Claire Wilson

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