By Riley Lewis
Moving into May, me, my friend Vernon and couple of other 7th graders at Discovery Charter School in San Jose, California, have got the first of the workstations in the SolidWorks mini-lab up and running. The core system is a workstation donated by my Dad with GPU upgrades courtesy of NIVIDIA, a 3D Connexion mouse, SolidWorks Student Edition, HSMWorks and Windows 7. The mini-lab is a place where we can:
- Work through SolidWorks tutorials
- Use the Lego Robotics suite for the FLL competition design
- Create models of everything from VW Vanagon modifications to i-Pod stands
- Get hands-on design experience with the same tools that designers in local industry are using
- Prepare for SolidWorks certification testing
The lab is the result of ongoing work that I’ve been doing with vendors and other contacts that I made when I was invited to SolidWorks 2011 in San Antonio. I was invited by SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray to be part of the worldwide event. SolidWorks World was pretty much a designer’s paradise for me at that time.
After that, I worked with to create the design mini-lab at my school in California. My vision of the mini-lab on campus was apparently compelling enough that my sponsors stepped up in a big way to support me and the school. Danny Shapiro from NVIDA made sure that the workstation had the graphics power needed, AMD stepped up as well with a FirePro card and 3D Connexion was also on board.
And that point, I was still using a HP Pavilion that was barely able to run SolidWorks for the design work I had previously done before I got to the show. But once I was on the floor and working with some of the vendor’s newer products it became clear that my “consumer grade” laptop did not have the horsepower to do the things that I wanted to do.
John met me and when he heard about the challenges I was having, he sponsored me with a new GoBoxx portable graphics workstation. Mr. Civatte heard about what I was doing and what I wanted to do at the school. He offered me a new PC that would let me go farther and faster.
I’m currently working on refining my pickproof lock design, a prototype for my dad, a series of i-Pad stands and stacks of 7th grade homework. I also plans on taking the CSWA test this year, and if that goes well I also want to finish the CSWP as well.
Stay tuned and see if the kid passes the CSWA this month.