From the 3D printer to the race track

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Students in the Computer Aided Design program at Western Dakota Tech got to have a little fun during finals week. Tuesday students tested 3D printed cars they made.

They may look like toy cars, and they essentially are, but each one was designed by a Western Dakota Tech student as a class project. For a whole semester they sketched, designed, 3D printed and assembled their cars to see which one is the fastest.

"This is definitely one of the highlights of the semester. Students are looking forward to the entire semester and, like you said, there's definitely crunch time," says CAD instructor James Loverich .

With so many parts needing to be printed like the outer shell, gears, and frame there is a bit of trial and error.

"The um, frame for the one I have, I had to print it again and then I did another print of the gears. I did have to cut bits and pieces off my frame because it was rubbing against the ground," says Faith Hovdenes, a student in the CAD program.

While it may be time consuming and stressful to make their cars work correctly, projects like these help students become more interested in fields that use new technologies.

"It takes the whole like the boring part of the learning process and you get to do something and build something and when you get the experience of doing that it just makes learning so much more fun," says Loverich.

In the end the students saw how their cars stacked up against each other with the car used as an example ultimately winning in a photo finish race.