Lane Tech students use 3D tools to stay a cut above

By John Carpenter

Blue Sky Reporter

A lanky teen with half-dyed hair leans over a laptop, pecking commands that will tell a 3D carving machine how to make what he hopes will become a smartphone holder.

Not far away, a diminutive young woman hefts a circular saw, lining the blade up with a piece of plywood that will anchor an art teacher’s storage unit.

In the opposite corner, a serious-looking young man peers through the shield of a whirring laser cutter, eyeing with furrowed brow the beam that shoots into the board he’s loaded.

“I’m not sure it’s cutting all the way through,” he says to his lab partner. “We might need to change the settings.”

Welcome to Lane Tech College Prep High School’s Room 134, otherwise known as the Innovation and Creation Lab. Here, with the help of digital manufacturing equipment such as 3D printers and carvers, Jeff Solin is teaching his students that learning isn’t just about getting every question right. It’s about designing and creating without fear of failure.

To read the rest of this story, published in the Chicago Tribune April 8, 2015, click here.

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