co2-cars

3D Printed CO2 Cars

Over the past year, we have seen 3D printing start making its way into classrooms. We have seen high schools, colleges and universities around the world adopt 3D printing as part of their curriculums. Without a doubt, within the next few years, all schools will be equipped with at least one 3D printer.

Auburn High School, in Auburn, Illinois has taken 3D printing to another level. Led by instructor Corben White, his senior level drafting class, was assigned with the task of designing and 3D printing CO2 race cars.

co2-aluminum-mendel

The “Aluminum Mendel” used to print out the car bodies.

White informed 3DPrint.com that in previous years, students were to build their cars using wood. This year however, White decided to mix things up and have his students design the cars using Autodesk Inventor, before 3D printing them out on the school’s “Aluminum Mendel”, which was downloaded off of Thingiverse and then constructed.

The students were to design a car that they thought would perform the best, and then they had the chance to put them to the test by racing one another.

“Seeing my students go through the design process was very interesting because they had to design a car that was both 3D printable as well as aerodynamic,” explained Corben.

As to who the winner was, Mitch Davis ended up winning the race, however all the students were able to take away a trove of knowledge and hands on experience, which will help them a great later in life. Mitch’s car is the red and black one with the holes throughout (pictured above).

The project was such a success, that Corben plans to expand the idea in the future.

“I am looking to expand this project into my lower levels as well, and then have a final race between the grade levels,” he explained to 3DPrint.com

It’s worth noting that the wheels on the cars were not 3D printed. Although Corben did have his students design 3D printable wheels, they ran out of time and were  not able to print out the wheel designs. Next year, he plans on having the students print out the entire car though (including wheels).

For those that have never seen CO2 car races before, you’ll be surprised at how incredibly fast these things can go.  Every little aspect of the body design has some sort of influence over the speed and performance of the car.  What do you think about the use of 3D printing in schools, and the way that Corben White has integrated it into his classroom? Discuss in the 3D Printed CO2 Car thread at 3DPB.com.

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