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County's engineering classes going 3-D

Students using advanced printers

Posted: March 8, 2013 - 12:10am  |  Updated: March 10, 2013 - 12:00am
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Photo by Jim Blaylock  Lakeside High School students Ben Santiago (left) and Alex Bondar prepare their CO2 cars for a race in their technology class.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Lakeside High School students Ben Santiago (left) and Alex Bondar prepare their CO2 cars for a race in their technology class.

Students at a couple of Columbia County high schools are now producing their lessons in 3-D.

Greg Shouse, Lakeside’s engineering instructor, now has a large 3-D Touch printer, while Marcus Cooper, Evans’ engineering instructor, has three smaller Cube 3-D printers with another, larger one on the way. The items were purchased with funds from the Perkins federal grant through the county’s Career Technical Agricultural Education Department.

“We have advisory boards that help us figure out what we need to teach the students from industry,” said Julie Kenny, Columbia County’s career technical agricultural educator. “That group is all engineers, and they tell us where to go, and help us out with that.”

The high schools’ new 3-D printers create plastic objects on a relatively small scale. The printers can produce standalone items, such as a piece for a chessboard, or components to be assembled for larger projects.

In keeping up with the latest technology, Cooper said the schools are on the right track.

“We’re running the latest and greatest software; our computers are up to date,” Cooper said. “As far as staying on the cutting edge, we’re there.”

First-year students at both schools get an introduction to the 3-D printer, but it is the second- and third-year students, such as Lakeside sophomore Alex Bondar, who get to translate theory into production.

Bondar, who was 13th in the nation last year in the high school CO2 car competition, is using the 3-D printer to produce wheels for this year’s model and replacing the propulsion tanks on his submersible with propellers.

“The computer program basically shows you the print of what it will look like and you can edit the size to how you want it, and then when you’re ready, hit ‘build,’ and that basically tells you how dense you want it (up to a half-inch), how fast you want it to print, basically the average cost it’ll be for the plastic and average time it will take,” Bondar said.

Though there are a few differences between the two schools’ printers, the operation is basically the same, working along the lines of an inkjet printer. Both start projects with 3-D modeling software on the computer, download it to a flash drive then insert the flash drive into the printer.

“It takes like a cartridge of Weed Eater cord,” Cooper said. “It’s ABS plastic, and it melts it. And instead of squirting ink on a paper or on a 2-D surface like paper, it squirts it out and it moves on an X-Y-Z axis until it builds the part. And the resolution is incredible with some of these.”

The engineering classes are also called pathways, which can lead to individual American Design Drafting Association certifications at the end of the third year.

“During the completion of the third year, the state administers a certification test and they become certified apprentice draftsmen,” said Cooper. “That’s cool.”

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Comments (10)


Being able to compete in a

Being able to compete in a CO2 car competition while still in high school is an amazing accomplishment, it should be interesting to see how their future careers will play out. Where they allowed to improve existing car parts or did they have to design them from scratch? The OEM Nissan parts could have been a nice inspiration source for them, they are the best out there.

Andrew Cowan

For the students it was

For the students it was indeed a grand opportunity, they should use this technology to achieve better results. Other schools which have not been able to buy such products, they should use the available technology and machinery, if they need a maintenance service provider for the computers then they should contact


I am very happy to read about

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It's good to know some

It's good to know some schools do their best to keep up with the latest technology when instructing their students, they will be ready to take on serious engineering jobs once they graduate. Another area that would be good for them to learn more about is the Ion Milling, it will increase their employment opportunities.

Robert Harris

These students are really

These students are really lucky as they are getting the opportunity to take advantage of such advanced technology. Now thanks to cutting edge technological systems, the business owners are being able to handle all their documents via paperless document management system.

Robert Harris

The introduction of 3-D

The introduction of 3-D technology is certainly going to upgrade the knowledge of the students. However, it is now essential for students to learn new technology to be able to find a good job. For example, if you want to work in the transcription field then you have to learn how to use digital voice recorders.

Andrew Cowan

These students should thank

These students should thank the authority for giving them this incredible opportunity to try out advanced technological feature. However, these days one can find all the information about new technological advancements online, if you need to learn about security penetration testing you can find the information online in a jiffy.

Paul Ricca

Unless the students get

Unless the students get familiar with modern technology, it would be difficult for them to try these technologies later. However, they should also get acquainted with concepts and programs like as400 migration.

Lamya Dalton

It is far easier to undersand

It is far easier to undersand some important principles of engineering with the help of a 3D printer. It is important for students or developers to have the latest technologies in order to create new generations of technology. Not only the gadgets can help you but taking a Network+ practice test from time to time can be quite helpful.


They should always save their

They should always save their projects for future generations to experiment on, who knows, they could get improved over the years. Learning about cloud computing architecture could also help them on their future careers, more and more businesses rely their activity on this new technology and knowing how to use it could be a plus.


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