New designLab Gives a Home to Innovators

Note: This article was co-written by Victoria Whitcomb ’20 and Michael Pizzani ’19

One of the crowning glories of the new wing is the vast designLab.

The new designLab, located on the second floor, right next to the Black Box, is both a department and physical space that houses engineering and robotics courses along with computer classes. In fact, within the space, you can find multiple classes in progress at one time. While designLab has been a part of the SLS community since its launch in 2015, this is the first time that the department officially has a space of its own.

“We recognized that we had an existing course and engineering courses that were spread out, so to make a unique department would be more helpful,” says Mr. Mitchell, who spearheads much of the designLab programming.

Vincent DiTeodoro ‘21, who takes classes in the department, notes that the designLab is “very insightful towards [his] process of creating.” He also includes that the environment and instruction equip him with the tools and advice needed to complete any sort of project he desires. Furthermore, he makes clear that if any student wants to work in the designLab, they shouldn’t feel daunted.

The Foundations of Engineering class has taken advantage of the state of the art 3D printers in the new space. Students in the class recently built their own animals out of legos and then modeled the structure on an online software program called onShape. Students were tasked with measuring each individual lego piece, designing their animal piece by piece on their computers, and then 3D printing the final result. The entire project took a little over a week, and by the end of it, students had their own 3D printed sculpture that resembled the animal of their choice.

Above: Senior Michael Pizzani’s model of an alligator.

This project taught students how to effectively utilize online software and problem solve through various difficulties. Once students printed their animals, the test of their success was to see if a real lego piece could fit into the plastic model.

A space setting with such cutting-edge technology produces a unique classroom experience. This project barely scratches the surface of what can be done in the new space, and students are eager to break in the new equipment.

There are “no prerequisite classes that students have to take before working in the designLab,” says Mr. Mitchell .

Anyone can take a class without any prior experience. Students have the opportunity to sign up for a designLab mini course or possibly even spend a free in the space. Mr. Mitchell strongly believes that the new space is for all community members – not just people taking designLab classes.

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