NKN middle schoolers getting technical

Nakai Reny-Hamer worked hard to create the most complex project ever attempted on NKN Middle School’s 3D printer, a complete chess set.

By Brian Cameron

Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School hosts 3D printing opportunities in the form of an after school program called the Institute for Idea Generation and Manufacturing, or I4IGM for short.
“This is a unique club dedicated to finding out how things work,” said Kathryn Harmon, Program Leader and Teacher-Librarian at NKN Middle School. “We build things that we think are cool, and explore new technologies.”
Local NKN middle schooler Nakai Remy-Hamer surprised even the instructors with his newest creation, a proper 3D printed chess set as part of being involved in the I4IGM program.
During the after school program Remy-Hamer designed and modeled an entire miniature chess set using the program 123D Design.  A CAD based design program that uses two-dimensional drawings on a centralized axis and with help from a toolset called “Revolve” he was able to create a 3D structure based off of the original drawing.  From there the individual shapes are imported into the Dremel Software and are then printed to scale using the school’s 3D printer.
Aside from 3D printing the I4IGM program also does a number of other integrated technology projects including Lego-robotics, Loom-based weaving and 4-station color screen printing which makes its a fun and educational experience for all the youngsters involved.
“I’ve had about 46 students sign up for the program this year,” Harmon said. “That’s about a quarter of the entire student body here at Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School, usually though about 20 of them will stick with the entire program.”
The I4IGM program started two years ago and has grown ever since, helping students get experience as early as possible with modern methods and technology is quickly becoming an important focus for area schools.  Officially its wrapped into being part of the nationalized STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program but according to Harmon she considers it more akin to STEAM or even STREAM which adds Art and Research to the well known acronym.
“Over the years I’ve watched the library computer lab at the Middle School get quiet as classrooms are now equipped with better computer based resources,”  Harmon said. “So I decided to re-purpose the old computer lab to be a research and creative lab for students interested in technology applications.”
Currently Harmon is the Director of the I4IGM program and has one volunteer, Mark Balmer out of Manzanita, to help in engaging the students but she stresses that more volunteers are definitely needed and if anyone is interested they can call her at the Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School or find out more information at