Mimio Educator

      From Inspiration to Innovation: The Role of 3D Printing in My Inventions

      Posted by Lydia Denton on Fri, May 3, 2024

      Lydia Denton_2 of 2_05.04.24

      In the rural landscape of Eastern NC, Lydia Denton defies the notion that kids' ideas are insignificant. From childhood curiosity to inventing a life-saving car seat, Lydia's journey inspires. Part 1 of her incredible journey delves into her early years of curiosity and creativity, culminating in the development of the Beat the Heat car seat - a groundbreaking invention aimed at preventing hot car deaths. In Part 2, discover how Lydia's boundless imagination continues to drive inventive solutions for real-world dilemmas, including the role of 3D printing. 

      When I was just 10, I was sharing my ideas all over the world - on TV and in Zoom calls everywhere! People were interested in what I had to say! Getting recognized opened up a whole new world for me. One of the best parts was receiving on my very own 3D printer. Designing custom parts, logos, cases and more, I was able to take my prototypes to the next level. I couldn’t wait to incorporate my new technology into my inventing! 

      3D printing played a huge role in my next nationally recognized invention, the Picadae Helmet.  Laying in my bed one morning, the sun barely up, I heard incessant pecking. A woodpecker was attacking the metal basketball hoop in our driveway. As I lay there, thinking evil thoughts about that woodpecker's fate, my brain shifted gears and wondered why a bird could endure repeated collisions without brain injury, but humans get concussions. My investigations led me to create a helmet based on the skull of a woodpecker. The National Hockey League was running a competition during COVID and it was a virtual science fair. I was eager to enter and used a small portable sensor tool to collect data on the impact forces and crafted and printed interlocking plates using my 3D printer. They were designed to distribute the impact force and slow down the deceleration/acceleration of the skull of the player wearing it. The 3D printer offered me the opportunity to move past craft supplies and truly design and print my own custom pieces. 


      Since then, the 3D printer has become an integral part of my inventions. I still have my trusty notebook and sketch my designs, but I’ve moved away from the cardboard and duct tape and into the wonderful world of 3D printing. The ease of designing and then tweaking the models I create means that the iterations of my prototypes are better than ever. The prototypes also look more like what I picture in my mind and the visual representation helps me to communicate my ideas more clearly.  Lydia blog - Awash Wheel

      3D printing is so exciting to learn about! The thought that we might be able to humanely create proteins using a 3D printer, or to print heart valves for those that have defective ones, or to print scaffolding for cells so that a person born without an ear could get one…the possibilities are endless if we all dream big.  

      I’m sure that there is a 2nd grader in a classroom somewhere, ripping duct tape and hammering computers who will dare to dream up the next greatest invention. Giving kids like me access to amazing tools like 3D printers helps us to develop skills we need to succeed in the engineering world. These tools also give us the confidence to share our ideas with this world. Educators everywhere can use equipment like this to help kids like me in prototyping our ideas. Scientists can mentor us and help us grow.  

      Confident and creative kids become confident and creative adults. Creativity and the ability to communicate ideas are skills that need to be nurtured and will grow over time. While you might start out like me, with your first invention protecting your Halloween candy, soon your ideas will grow to solve problems in your communities and the world.  Lydia blog - various




      Has Lydia's story inspired you to try 3D printing? Explore the new Robo E4 and E4 Pro 3D printers from MimioSTEM by Boxlight. Click here: Robo 3D E4 & E4 Pro

      Topics: Maker, 3D printing, STEM education, Makerspace, Women in STEM, Girls in STEM


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