“Fabian has a passion and drive for 3D printing like no other student I have encountered,” says Frank Holthouse, Fabian’s teacher at East Leyden, who nominated Fabian for 30 Under 30. It’s easy to see why.
As a student in East Leyden’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Introduction to Engineering course, Fabian wasn’t satisfied with just completing his schoolwork. On top of the PLTW course curriculum, he designed and printed a model of his previous school. The process took two weeks of scaling, drawing, and finally printing. The success of that project encouraged him to do the same with East and West Leyden High Schools. Using Google maps and observations from each campus, Fabian was able to build a highly accurate model.
“The level of detail is truly amazing,” Frank says. “It included all of the windows, stairs, and air conditioning units on the roof and took five months to complete.”
Building on PLTW curriculum, which focuses on solving real-world problems with 3D printing, Frank’s students teamed up with e-NABLE, an organization that connects people in need of a prosthetic hand or arm with volunteers who want to make a difference through 3D printing. Working with his classmates, Fabian printed several parts and assembled them to create a functioning prosthetic hand for an adopted boy from China who was born without his right hand. The hand helped him use both hands to accomplish tasks he wasn’t able to do before, Frank says.
Fabian’s interest in 3D printing is simple. “It fascinates me how you can design something on a computer and then you can hold it in your hand,” he says. His interest in building models started with a book on the Titanic, which sparked his interest in how it was built. For him, 3D printing was a natural fit. Others in the Leyden community are taking notice, too.
“Fabian has made a name for himself at Leyden,” Frank says. In 2015, the school principal contacted Fabian about building a model of the White House that would be presented to President Obama at a Maker Education event. Despite being on summer vacation, Fabian quickly got to work scaling, drawing, and building the White House and finished the project in two weeks.
The venture was not without its challenges. For example, after the first print, the columns on the front of the White House kept breaking. Fabian quickly realized that he would have to print another model without the columns, and instead glued sanded toothpicks to the model in post-processing.
“Fabian thinks on his feet and learns from his failures,” Frank says.
Fabian’s current project is a 3D model for a major addition to East Leyden High School and he is always looking to hone his Autodesk Inventor skills. He plans to continue taking PLTW courses and while he’s not sure exactly what the future will bring, he likely plans to study engineering in college and continue to use his talents to benefit his community.
“Fabian has found great success at the intersection of community and technical skills,” Frank says. “I strongly believe that he represents the future of manufacturing.”
This article was first published in the July 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.