3D Printing into Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts program is a broad spectrum of education mixed with high-adventure activities. It all opens your mind, and gives you a taste what the world has to offer. Scouting teaches personal valuation of efforts. It teaches pride in one’s work. It teaches pride in being apart of something larger than yourself. It gives you a sense of purpose and meaning. It requires you to come to terms with uncomfortable things, be they people, a cold sleeping bag or poorly cooked food. Everyone cares about the greater good.

Scouting has been a major component to my life and family. My two brothers, father and I are all Eagle Scouts. In a chance to get more involved in scouting and the 3D printing industry, I have been working with 2 experts in 3D printing with the goal of bringing 3D printing into Scouting. 3D printing will be a big component to the workforce, and it is beneficial to teach this technology to the younger generation. I see tremendous opportunity with this technology for the Boy Scouts.

Over the past couple of years, I have been working with Bill Macy, Founder ofRippl3d – a company focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and Brian Federal, Producer of the documentary 3D Printing Revolution, to incorporate 3D printing and other disruptive technologies into the Boy Scouts of America.


In April I was asked to help at the United Innovators STEM Summit held at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The community innovation project event was organized by United Innovators, a group of eight talented high school students seeking to encourage young people of color and women to pursue STEM careers and provide them with resources they can use to learn about STEM. United Innovators is an initiative of the Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program.

Designed for middle and high school students, the United Innovators STEM Summit included several interactive workshops from assembling a 3D printed prosthetic hand to design thinking and coding. I spent my time helping run the 3D printed rocket challenge for which GSC donated most of the 3D printed rocket parts.


The challenge, developed by Rippl3d, encourages players to create their own 3D printed air-powered rockets. There are two challenge options depending on a student’s skill level. The normal challenge gives students the option of selecting from one of four pre-printed tail configurations, while the advanced challenge allows students to design their own tail configuration and 3D print the part on-site.

Students must then launch their completed designs, adjusting their launch pressure and angle, into a target to see who earns the most points based on proximity to the bullseye. The overall goal of the challenge is to encourage students to experiment with different designs and variables to find the best ratio.


These types of events are extremely important in engaging students in the possibilities of STEM careers and help them understand the capabilities of 3D printing. As a rapidly growing industry, it’s a challenge to create a curriculum that wouldn’t be outdated by the time it reaches students. These interactive workshops give students hands-on experience that helps them understand how 3D printing impacts their lives every day, as well as open their minds to the career possibilities they may not have considered.

Update #1: IMTS 2016

Rippl3d had a booth set up in the student summit section of the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show based in Chicago, IL. The booth was set up to challenge students to build a rocket with different design variables (tail design, launch pressure, launch angle, and weight)  with the goal to hit a bulls eye. All the parts were 3D printed, and the advanced challenge was to design their own tail using Rippl3d software and print the design at our booth to test. We encouraged the participants to experiment with multiple launches to optimize their design, out of over 2000 launches, only one participant achieved a perfect score. There was great feedback from the Boy Scouts in attendance, many had interest to set up the same event with their troops and district. Over 100 scouts participated.  The event provided an amazing proof of concept and I am reaching out to get more troops involved in the Chicago area and starting discussions on the national level.


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