Computer-aided design, or CAD, uses software to create or model some object digitally. At Marian, there are two levels of CAD class, CAD I and CAD II, the first level can be taken by sophomores, juniors and seniors and the second level can be taken by anyone who has completed the first. Both classes are very project-based and focus on creating 2D models of 3D objects.
Mr. Matthew Winterboer teaches both levels of CAD and believes that it’s quite similar to an art class. There are very few days of lecture and most of the work is done individually. He has created many video tutorials for students to allow them to move at their own pace. One exciting part of CAD is that some of the projects they do will be 3D printed.
“After we model this three-dimensionally, instead of just printing it out on a 2D piece of paper we can also make that design come to life on a 3D printer,” Winterboer said. As 3D printing has gained popularity in recent years, it was added to the class. Marian got its 3D printer in 2017 and it quickly became a foundational part of CAD I which was first offered in the 2017-2018 school year. One project which utilizes the printer consists of each student creating a model of a custom cookie cutter, printing it in the 3D printer and testing its ability to cut cookie dough.
Senior Morgan Miller took CAD I her junior year and continued on to CAD II last semester. She participated in the cookie cutter project. “I made a dinosaur. It was a little blue one, it’s so cute,” Miller said.
Last semester, CAD II took two field trips. The first was to architecture firm Leo A Daly. The CAD II students were given a tour of the facilities and then were given the opportunity to ask questions to an architect, an interior designer and a structural engineer. The second field trip was to a house that was currently in construction. The students were able to see the transition from paper to an actual house. “We went into it and he gave us a tour of the house. It was kind of cool how it was all being done because we got to see the prints and all that,” Miller said.
CAD II is largely focused on one project, creating a digital model of an entire house. Since they were able to see the house in progress, it gave the students a better idea of how their digital work could come to life. “If you’re interested in architecture or anything with computers then it’s a good class to take. In CAD II we mostly just worked on one project, building the house. Seeing the work that they all have to put into building one house is a lot, so if you’re interested in that I would really recommend taking the class,” Miller said.
The software that the students learn how to use is important in the fields of architecture and engineering. However, the skills that students gain can be transferable not only to careers and hobbies. “The way we’ve gone towards this maker society, it doesn’t have to just be career orientated it’s definitely become more of a hobbyist type of thing. Just like people have a hobby of scrapbooking, people have picked up the hobby of 3D printing,” Winterboer said.