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New Stuyahok students learn computer-aided design

February 10th, 2017 | Josh Gates Print this article   Email this article  

This fall, 20 New Stuyahok students devoted a week to learning how to create custom stickers and T-shirts using Rhinoceros, a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. Two fabrication experts, Dogger (aka Kent Winship) of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Bristol Bay Campus and John Niebergall of Oregon Fab Lab and Digital Design and Fabrication, Oregon, flew in to train both students and teachers?

The week started with learning the basics of Rhinoceros, software preferred by professionals in the design industry. From day one, students were using their new skills to create custom designs. With basic Rhino skills, students could create single color stickers of their favorite animals or professional sports teams. As students became more skilled with Rhinoceros, their creations graduated from single-colored to multi-colored and from two dimensions to three dimensions with the help of several 3D printers made available for the course by UAF Bristol Bay Campus?

After the weeklong course, two local teachers, Josh Gates (Math and CTE) and Ben Garlets (Science and Math) continued to integrate the technology into their regular classes and created an entrepreneurial after school club called New Stuyahok Fabrications (NSF). The group meet? after-school two times per week and has between 10 and 15 regular attendees. During club meetings, members fill custom orders placed by the school or local community members and prepare for upcoming sporting events at which the club can customize and sell clothing for visiting teams and fans. Alongside this entrepreneurial aspect to the group, students spend their time developing a sustainable learning atmosphere in which more experienced students coach and mentor beginners and new members of the group in Rhinoceros and use of fabrication equipment such as our vinyl cutter, heat press, and 3D printers?

The group's first big opportunity came when New Stuyahok hosted the regional wrestling tournament toward the end of 2016. With the school full of visiting wrestlers and their fans, the club sold over $3,500 in customized shirts and other custom merchandise in just a day and a half. The money went to purchase club uniforms and additional printing supplies.

The school library doubled as a customization factory employed by busy students. Justin Petla (sophomore) took orders and filled out the order forms. Order forms were passed to either Allyssa Gust (sophomore) or Travis Neketa (freshmen) who input the designs into Rhinoceros. Damian Gust (sophomore) printed the designs using the vinyl cutter. Three additional students, Samara Chunak (seventh)? Tyshona Chunak (sixth) and Selene Geffe (eighth), prepared the prints for pressing. Finally, Jolin Apokedak (sophomore) and Anecia Gust (sophomore) used a heat press to iron the designs to the clothing?

The students described the experience as "very stressful" but "very fun" and look to forward to future sporting events and opportunities to be challenged using the skills described and the fabrication equipment. The group's abilities and capabilities will expand beyond T-shirts as additional equipment including a laser etcher, router and 3D printers have been ordered and are expected to arrive in the spring?

Josh Gates is the CTE/Mathematics Teacher at Chief Ivan Blunka School.


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