A group of Polk County Middle School students recently got a firsthand look at 3D printing to help with a course of study.

Students in Dale Rush’s STEM class at Polk Middle are studying body systems from a STEM perspective. The class received a visit on Sept. 13 from Dr. Amber Thompson, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina.

Thompson spoke about types of plastic, how products are made from raw materials, the types of products made from plastic, how objects may be scaled to a particular size based on need and how 3D printed items are impacting society.

She made a scan of a student using a common gaming scanner with free 3D scanning software that will be 3D printed as an action figure of the student. Thompson also printed a scaled model of a human hand while students watched the printer in operation.