3D printing floats CAD’s boat


Joe Wilson

CAD student launches the boat he designed and printed using Solidworks technology.


This Tuesday Kathy Lane’s Computer Aided Design students tested out 3D printed boats that they had designed themselves. The class floated their boats off Dunfudgin Public Boat Ramp behind Gloucester High School.

Students created their boats using a computer program called SolidWorks, considering how the size, shape, weight, and density would impact the boat’s ability to float. Student Thomas Glenn successfully tested his boat during the experiment, and says that having access to 3D printing technology helps him grasp physics concepts. “It helped me visualize it better,” said Glenn “being able to build something.”

Ms. Lane also advocates for the learning opportunities that 3D printing provides. “Kids can actually see geometric relations in real time,” said Lane. “They can be creative by designing their own projects. It is very important to learn programs that are being used by local companies like Variant for example–they use Solidworks in their engineering. It gives them the opportunity to know if they like this kind of project engineering, and if they might want to go to college for it.

Another student in CAD, Matteo Mustone, expressed that CAD presents unique opportunities, “some people don’t have access to 3D printers and other engineering equipment,” said Mustone, “so we are lucky to be able to use it.”

Ms. Lane expresses concern that CAD may be cut in the coming school year. “They’re going to drop the whole program,” said Lane, “and I don’t see the rationale in that.” CAD is at risk of being cut in light of budget cuts to the Gloucester Public Schools overall.