East County Career Center Industrial Design and 3D Printing

  • By Allen
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Grossmont Union High School District East County Career Center and Fab Lab


From August 5-16th 2013, Fab Lab San Diego worked with the Grossmont Union High School District East County Career Center to introduce young adults to industrial design, CNC machine operation, next generation manufacturing techniques and 3D printing.

Students were introduced to 3D modeling software, and learned the tools to design 3D models of furniture and even a building based on floorplans and blueprints, as well as their own products for 3D printing.  We began by learning about 2D vector design by working with the industry-standard graphic design software Adobe Illustrator.  We learned to create logos and export them as toolpaths to control a CNC vinyl plotter.  By using a simple CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine, students are able to learn the fundamentals of workflow and how to prepare files for digital fabrication.

After learning about designing vector graphics in 2-dimensional software, we advance to thinking and designing in 3D.  We used Blender, a free and open source software and showed students how 3D modeling relates to career fields such as industrial design, computer animation, architecture, engineering, and drafting.  We began by introducing the platonic solids, polyhedra that Plato introduced as the make-up of the classical solids.  These geometric shapes are useful for introducing the basics of modeling and explaining how to transition from thinking in two dimensions to three.  Next, students were given the challenge of designing and 3D modeling furniture and a building to place it in.  By following the steps presented by the instructor, Toni Rouhana, students were able to create their own designs and customize them.  From studying blueprints, the students chose a building to translate from a flat floor plan into 3D space.

The class was also exposed to 3D printing and given a demonstration on how the printers are built by a local 3D printer designer and developer and instructor, Allen McAfee of Sandbox3DP.  The students learned about how the extruder, motors and linear movement systems work by getting to interact with the component parts to construct a functional machine.  Throughout the class, the students saw a 3D printer in operation and became accustomed to it’s functions and the models that it creates.

Finally, the students presented their work and final projects, practicing presentation and public speaking skills.  The team from Robo3D, a local crowd-funded startup comprised of garage inventors that turned their tinkering into a business came to the class to talk to the students about the emerging industry around 3D printer technology.  Jerry Grauman and Braydon Moreno discussed their story and the journey of turning a 3D printer concept into a functioning business, and how they see this tech shaping the future of manufacturing.


Please view the student work and portfolios here.


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