Joliet West High School engineering graphics students create three-dimensional race cars with 3D printers

Joliet Township High School engineering graphics students receive hands-on industry experience through state-of-the-art 3D printers. Most recently, the students in Dave Popek’s class used the 3D printer to create a model rubber band race car with a unique challenge, to use a limited amount of material. 

“I 3D printed a car, but it used too much material and was too expensive,” said Popek. “It became the student’s project to re-design the race car, keeping all the overall sizes the same, but reducing the volume of material by 60 percent.”

Students used advanced modeling software and mathematic skills to print and test their own designs against the original model.

3D printers are used in various industries for prototypes, prosthetics and a variety of other functions.  In the classroom, students can now see their design go from a two dimensional drawing to a three dimensional model to a three dimensional object.  For example, Popek’s architecture students are creating 3D models of their house designs and using balsa wood to build a shed to learn about wall and truss construction.

“Before the printer, students would produce a drawing but rarely saw the outcome. Now, there are a lot more options. Students are able to design objects, print them three dimensionally and test their designs,” said Popek. … (read more)


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