3D Collective club expands beyond Saratoga

May 7, 2024 — by Florence Hu and Florence Wei
Courtesy of Andrew Wu
President Andrew Wu volunteers to teach the fundamentals of 3D printing in the Saratoga Library.
The 3D Collective club, with a roster of roughly 30 members, is planning local events to share knowledge about splicing, cadding and printing.

Every other Monday at lunch in the engineering classroom, the 3D Collective club is busy at work modeling with 3D printing apps such as Blender. The officers walk around the room, helping members with modeling techniques and working with various filaments, including wood and carbon fiber. They go over different software for slicing and firmware. 

The 3D Collective club, led by junior president Andrew Wu, senior vice president Rishab Melkote, junior secretary Sora Wong, junior treasurer Arthur Gabrilovich and sophomore outreach director Nicole Hao, explains the basics of 3D modeling and printing in detail to new members. Wu said the club’s goal is to provide 3D printers for people to explore printing outside of the school’s engineering classes. 

“I originally started this club in sophomore year because I felt there was a lack of knowledge surrounding 3D printing,” Wu said. “In an engineering class, you have all the resources, but you don’t learn how to do it. You send it to the teacher, and it magically comes out as a piece of plastic, but there are many steps in between actually operating the printer.”

The club has a roster of roughly 30 students, but substantially fewer show up to each meeting.

Ever since 8th grade, Wu has been interested in Nerf guns and had the idea to 3D print his own. After buying a cheap, broken 3D printer, he fixed it himself. 

“By fixing my very own printer, I really gained an interest in the anatomy and functions of printing,” Wu said. 

Through donations from members, the officers were able to buy a 3D printer specifically designated for their club. They hope to apply for ASB grants in the future to fund long-term projects and use them for fundraisers. 

“What we want to do next is host more local events,” Wu said. “We’re in contact with six libraries and are planning an event at the Saratoga Library in May.”

The events will include educational classes on topics such as slicing (converting a 3D object into “slices” and layers for printing), CADing (computer-aided design, often 3D modeling) and printing. The club is also reaching out to 3D printing clubs in other schools, such as Los Gatos High, for guidance. Ultimately, their biggest goal is for 3D printing to be accessible to all students.

Members are also contemplating building their own 3D printer, a long-term project estimated to be completed next year. The team believes that the ultimate way of becoming familiar with the inner workings of 3D printers involves more than going by the textbooks — they intend to design and construct one from the ground up. Wu said this project is still in its early conceptual stages and they are currently looking for more members to join the team to tackle issues together, but he can envision the excitement of a big project gaining momentum in the coming fall semester.

“Our focus impacts the whole community, so I’m really excited to expand our club,” Wu said.

Tags: 3d, club
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