CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — Each year, Canton City Schools pre-engineering students use 3D design and printing skills to “make people’s lives better,” said teacher Chad Weaver.
In Nehemiah Culver’s case, he needed something that could help him hold a guitar pick. So this year, with help from guitar instructor George Dean, they invented a custom-made assistive device using a 3D printer to help the McKinley Senior High School freshman realize his dream of playing the guitar.
“You know when there is a will, there has to be a way,” Weaver is quoted in a Friday news release. “Nehemiah had the will to play, Mr. Dean had the will to help him do so and I was determined to find a way.”
Students in the career and technical education pre-engineering program have, in years past, developed a prosthetic leg protector, a welding device used to test a weld and even houses for the construction technology students to build, according to the release.
Culver played band in middle school, but stopped his freshman year due to scheduling conflicts. That led him to join the guitar ensemble and keep grooving.
The guitar Culver uses in class was Dean’s own, according to the release. Dean added a strap to it and modified its nut and saddle so it could be played left-handed.
Instrument modifications are common throughout history, he said.
“We saw the guitar change from the Baroque guitar into what it is today with the designs of Antonio De Torres,” he is quoted in the release. “In fact, Eddie Van Halen was always making adaptations to his guitars. He reimagined it often throughout his career.”
The Canton pre-engineering students helped design and redesign three separate prototypes before finalizing a device that Culver was able to use. Culver’s therapist and Weaver’s daughter, a music therapy major at Cleveland State University, offered helpful feedback, according to the release.
“This device helps Nehemiah with accuracy, to play melody and harmony,” said Dean. “He wouldn’t have been able to interact with the music in the same way without it.”