3D Assistance is a new program co-created by a former DHF youth and now staff member, Darius McCoy, and Director of Technology, Shawn Grimes. The purpose of the program is to leverage the 3D printing skills that Darius and other youth have acquired at DHF to help educators and other community members who own 3D printers with troubleshooting and repair services.
3D Assistance was piloted as an internal project within the walls of DHF repairing our fleet of 3D printers used by the youth on an almost daily basis. Darius selected a few youth to work with him and he worked alongside a couple staff mentors to train the team on how to troubleshoot common issues and make repairs.
After training the youth and giving them some time to gain experience, we expanded the program to offer support to our 3D Printing for Educators workshop attendees. The 3D Assistance team would float around the room helping the educators troubleshoot their own issues and teaching them common solutions. As the teachers left the workshops, they felt more confident because they had learned to fix common problems themselves and they also knew who they could reach out to if there was something they couldn’t figure out.
“I was frustrated by the number of schools I visited that said they have a 3D printer but it is never used because they *think* it is broken and no one knows how to fix it. It was clear that there was an opportunity to help the community by making some of our in-house expertise available to others.” — Shawn Grimes, Director of Technology
3D Assistance has been answering questions over email and repairing printers that are dropped off to the tech center. They have also been developing processes and creating support documentation for common issues and building the skills needed for customer support relations. Recently, they have even begun to handle the sale and inventory our 3D printers.
“Printrbot not only endorses this program, we are proud of these young people and adults using their skills to help others! A community network of users and experts quickly builds confidence in users. We recommend you take advantage of this resource. ” — Brook Drumm, CEO/Founder of Printrbot
3D Assistance is currently a 3 member youth team with additional staff support but will grow to meet demand. They currently service our 15+ 3D printers at DHF and support the more than 95 educators who have been through our 3D Printing for Educators workshops. The team also serves as inspiration for other youth who might be interested in joining the team as their skills progress.
“Having the 3D assistance team available has been a lifesaver for me. Seemingly always available, willing to help with a smile, and excellent at what they do, they have saved our printing program multiple times. From extrusion issues to broken motors, they not only help fix your problem, but educate you along the way, so we can tackle similar problems ourselves in the future. Couldn’t ask for a more professional and knowledgable team. Five stars!” — Scott Dellosso, Teacher, Perryville Middle School
For more information on 3D Assistance, you can visit: http://old.digitalharbor.org/3dassistance/