Montesano, WA - High School CAD students in Montesano are printing in three dimensions. Computer Aided Drafting teacher Roger Records presented a 6 inch figurine of the lady liberty to the school board at last week's meeting "It's pretty much science fiction. I had a picture of this Statue of Liberty, I pressed the print button, and this is what it makes."
The system projects the digital model into a base of gypsum powder (similar to plaster of Paris) it uses a binding agent to literally build the object millimeter by millimeter through a means called additive manufacturing. "This give the students an opportunity to see that drawing that they may have worked on for weeks, come to life instead of just being a picture on a screen."
Mr. Records said the printing process is not super exciting to watch; "I got a real kick out of watching 5 or 6 very motivated high school students watch the thing go back and forth all period long. It's very exciting to see what comes out of it."
Practical applications you ask? Computer Aided Drafting student Jacob Vaughn explained a project that hits home "My family business is Vaughn Chopper Pumps down the road, and I'm tryin to print out a small model pump with moving parts."
Mr. Records said the gypsum base is a bit expensive, so they won't be selling custom-made buttons in the front office anytime soon, but he did invite the school board members to come down and watch the next time they print.