If you're looking to send the little ones to a summer camp where they learn how to make macaroni pictures and bird feeders out of milk cartons, then Discover Camp is not for you.
The science camp for 1st through 8th graders has classes in everything from how to build your own remote control car to how to create a smartphone game app.
It also has different levels of classes in 3D design and printing, and some of the other 110 classes the camp offers involve 3D printing.
"(Instructor Vinny Garrison) uses the printers for other classes too, so kids in the jewelry making class are 3D printing earrings and things, kids in the rocketry classes are 3D printing parts, things like that," camp owner Anthony Rich said.
Campers who sign up for the 3D printing classes are assigned one of the camp's 10 MakerBot 3D printers, which Garrison has named after Avengers.
"They get their own printer assigned to them," Garrison said. "Kids like it, they take a little bit of pride in it."
Who knows, your little tyke may get the Incredible Hulk or the Black Widow.
Rich just bought six MakerBot minis, which means the camp will have 16 up and running this coming summer.
"We're not quite at a one to one ratio of kids to printers, but we're darn close," Rich said.
Offering two beginners classes as well as an intermediate and an advanced class helps even things out.
The beginning class focuses on the actual printing process with files pulled off Thingiverse.
"It's about just learning the process: taking an STL file and making sure it's a good file, learning how to download a file, learning how to convert a file, installing an SD card, that sort of thing," Garrison said.
There is a little bit of an introduction to modeling at the end of the class as students start customizing files, but much more of that is covered at the next level.
The intermediate class is a "Design and Build Class" in which kids work in either Tinkercad or SketchUp to create their own items and then print them out. Assignments include projects like making a structure that can protect an egg from a thousand pounds of force.
"It's definitely going to be a little bit more critical thinking and problem solving," Garrison said.
Students just starting out tend to design very elaborate models that look amazing on the computer screen but often flop, literally, once they are actually printed.
"They don't quite understand what gravity is going to do to their design," Garrison said.
In the advanced class, students learn how to build their own 3D printer from a PrintrBot Simple kit. There are lab fees to cover the cost of the printer, but the kids get to take their printers home with them.
"The idea is, if you can build it and something goes wrong or something breaks, you can fix it," Garrison said.
Camp is broken down into two sessions, with the first running four weeks and the second running three weeks. Classes are 80 minutes long for five days a week during each session.
As a technology teacher at A. MacArthur Barr Middle School in nearby Nanuet, N.Y., Garrison teaches classes that incorporate 3D design and printing during the rest of the year as well.
"I've seen everything work and I've seen everything not work hundreds of times," he said.
Rich, who is himself an elementary technology teacher in Eastchester, N.Y., offered the camp's first 3D printing class three years ago.
He wanted to buy MakerBot kits so the campers could assemble them themselves.
"They said you could only get the pre-assembled kits anymore so we weren't too excited about it at first," Rich said. "We turned it into a 3D modeling class, but we didn't realize how much tinkering it took to get it to print right."
Like many just entering the 3D printing world, Rich learned the hard way about all the little variables, like table temperature, that go into getting the 3D print you envisioned.
Garrison came on board a year ago and the 3D printing aspect of camp just boomed. That works perfectly into Rich's hands on philosophy for the camp.
"When I was a kid, everyone had their own set of tools and worked on their own bicycles, we build plastic models and painted them, but kids today don't do that," Rich said. "Kids don't know how to follow instructions or read a schematic anymore. Learning that sort of thing is a good first step in engineering, and that's one of the principles we try to introduce at Discover Camp."
Camp counselor Jordan Klein actually designed and printed an iPad stand last summer that works with a local company's new case that recharges up to 10 iPad's at a time.
"He sold the design to them," Rich said. "He made $100."
Klein, who is now a 19-year-old mechanical engineering student at Virginia Tech, met Rich as a camper at another science camp that Rich worked at before opening Discover Camp seven years ago. Klein was so impressed with Rich's methodical nature of teaching that he became a camp counselor. His experience at science camp every summer definitely helped him decide to study mechanical engineering in college.
"It gave me a social framework to meet people who were also interested in what I was doing," Klein said.
Rich's hands on approach to teaching has also given Klein a leg up on his fellow students today.
While many students have strong math or physics skills, they tend to struggle once a project advances from the drawing board to something you can hold in your hand.
"A lot of that stuff came from the stuff I did in the camp," Klein said.