LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some Kentuckiana middle and high school students are spending part of their summer break in the classroom, part of an advanced summer camp at the University of Louisville.

Inside a lab on campus, students are learning about 3D printing and how it can play a part in their education and careers.

Colt Mayden, an eighth-grader at Silver Creek Middle School, said he initially wasn't thrilled about coming to summer camp.

"At first I didn't really want to come here, but my mother forced me into it," he said. "I was like, 'Do I really have to go?' I don't really want to go."

But after just a few days at the 3D Printing and Manufacturing Summer Camp at UofL, Colt and the other students were excited to be back in the classroom.

"This has been an enjoyable time," said Cayman Kelting, a sophomore at St. Xavier High School. "It's definitely a thing I want to continue in the future."

The 3D camp is being hosted by the Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology (AMIST) at UofL.

“Everything starts with a CAD model," said Gary Graf, coordinator of engineering technical services at UofL. "We’ve got to draw it up on the computer."

Graf said the goal is to introduce students to 3D printing and all of its potential, which includes creating a model on a computer and, within minutes, holding the object in your hand.

"This is the way industry is doing things today," Graf said. "It used to be they would draw something up, fabricate prototype, and it would take weeks and weeks. We can now do stuff in a matter of a day that might take weeks in the past to do."

Organizers hope the camp will also generate more interests in engineering technology.

"I think it's a wide open field and even in the area of engineering and research at the advanced levels and even in companies,” said Dr. Sundar Atre, a professor of endowed chair of Manufacturing & Materials at UofL's J.B. Speed School of Engineering. “People are still discovering what 3D printing is and what it can do for them. That gives the university an important mission."

Atre said 3D printing has the potential to change the lives and trajectory of people from all walks of life.

“We wanted to take the long-term view of how we can create educational and economic pathways to benefit Louisville in general in this growing field,” he said. “It can be a trillion-dollar economy over the next two decades. And so there’s a lot of opportunity. We wanted to see how we could create a pathway and build up Louisville in this manner."

The camp includes boys and girls in the seventh-twelfth grades. There is a $200 fee, but Graf said no one will be turned away.

"We don't want to turn anyone away because of the $200,” Graf said.

So the doors of the camp and the rest of the summer are open to students across Kentuckiana.

"We'll keep having them," Graf said. "As long as attendees are here, we'll keep having them."

To learn more about the camp, please send an email to sundar.atre@louisville.edu

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