Los Altos High in 3-D: Students create art, glasses and frames on high-tech printer

Photos by Crystal Tai/Town Crier
Los Altos High School senior Attila Delingat dons a pair of glasses he printed on the school’s 3-D printer.

Los Altos High School senior Attila Delingat produced three eyeglass frames in the school’s Rapid Prototyping Lab. The first one was too small, the second one too big, but the third one fit perfectly.

“It took about 45 minutes to design the frame,” Delingat said. “Then it took about an hour to print the front part and half an hour to print the side parts.”

Fellow senior Vinay Patel printed the stand of a picture frame and continued to work on the frame itself.

Delingat and Patel are among the 20 students in the pilot course Design and Prototyping, which teaches students how to use Los Altos High’s new 3-D printers, laser cutters and computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine, which receives commands from computer programming to automate manufacturing tools.

In one lab session, students used Adobe Illustrator to create mazes, which the CNC machine would carve on a board for them.

Math teacher Adam Anderson and physics teacher Stephen Hine co-teach the two-semester course that started last fall.

According to Anderson, the pilot course will expand into Los Altos High’s Academy of Engineering and Design, an interdisciplinary four-year program that aims to prepare students for college and the high-tech world of Silicon Valley.

Academy students are expected to complete the four core courses:

• STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Foundations

• Engineering 1, Introduction to Computer Science, Assembly or Drawing as an elective

• Engineering 2, AP Computer Science, Design and Prototyping, AP Art or Engineering Design as an elective

• Senior Capstone, a group project attempting to solve an industry or social issue

Academy students will acquire hands-on experience in the school’s Rapid Prototyping Lab, the use of which started with not only the pilot course of the new academy, but also with a robotics class and science-related student clubs, according to Hine.

“Hopefully it will spread to other classes,” he said. “Definitely math and science, but we are looking for English and social studies to come in, and art. It definitely fits in with art.”

As Hine spoke, senior Hannah Pang was working on a mosaic with plastic pieces snipped by the lab’s laser cutter.

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