By Matt Bakken LPHS Technology Education Teacher

BOZEMAN – Lone Peak High School students enrolled in technology classes took a field trip to Montana State University on Dec. 13, to tour the Technology Education facility.

The students first learned steps to convert a 3-D drawing in AutoCAD to an STL file for a 3-D printer. Engineers and architects worldwide use these printers and teachers can employ them in classrooms to give students experience creating functional 3-D models.

The department had a new Dimension 3-D printer in action, and LPHS students watched as it created a solid sphere inside a hollowed-out cube. A laser-engraving machine was used to etch the Lone Peak Big Horn logo onto a clear coffee mug.

The kids created web pages using Adobe Dreamweaver on the department’s new laptops and an MSU student taught them how to modify their index template, add logos, create links, and change colors using the hexadecimal system to recreate the MSU website.

In the department’s manufacturing shop, students learned how a PlasmaCAM cuts metal by turning superheated air into plasma, and blowing it through the metal to cut it. The CAM cut LPHS Christmas ornaments out of a metal sheet for each student to take home.

MSU professor Lidia Haughey then explained the design process behind a computer numerical control machine (CNC), as it milled a sail and mast out of Styrofoam.

The field trip was an eye-opener for the LPHS students as they have only heard about these technologies.

“It was cool to see the 3-D printer take something off the computer and make something you could hold in your hand, said Gage Lindell, a Lone Peak freshman.

Before leaving the facility, Dr. Scott Davis said next spring, LPHS students in Technical Drawing II can send their models to him and he will print them on the university’s 3-D printer. This opportunity will allow students to evaluate and test their models for form and function.