UCSD Hosts Second Annual Make-A-Thon

UCSD’s Triton 3D, also known as T3D, hosted its weekend-long computer-aided design and 3-D printing challenge in the Price Center Forum at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Make-A-Thon was divided into two categories: beginner and advanced. Out of the advanced-category teams, Teams EWB and Seizemic won the first-place titles. Team Trihard placed first in the beginner category. 

The prize for the winning team in the advanced category is an M3D printer and the prize for the top team in the beginner category is a 3Doodler pen.

During the opening remarks, T3D Secretary and Sixth College sophomore Alec Kochis announced that the theme for this year’s Make-A-Thon is castles. Teams in the beginner category were assigned the task of constructing a castle with a functional design while advanced teams had to construct a device to attack a castle. The opening remarks were followed by a CAD tutorial and 3-D printing workshop.

Kochis told the UCSD Guardian that the Make-A-Thon is T3D’s annual student outreach event, which aims to introduce 3-D printing to non-engineering majors and familiarize them with the benefits of 3-D modeling software.

“We want to get people to take the plunge in a fun way, and in a way that they know they’re going to learn from us,” Kochis said.

Kochis added that 3-D printing has practical applications for students with a variety of majors.

“For example, maybe there’s a business major who’s pitching a product,” Kochis noted. “He can 3-D print the product and bring it to his meeting.”

For some mechanical engineering students, the advanced category offers a platform for them to experiment with technology and software that they are already familiar with. Earl Warren College senior Daniel Ortiz, a competitor in the advanced category, told the Guardian that the event gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in class to a hands-on project.

“I feel like we spend a lot of time doing a lot of theoretical studies but we don’t get to explore and experience hands-on aspects of engineering,” Ortiz said. “I feel like [the Make-A-Thon is] a great opportunity to learn more beyond just the classroom setting.”

Warren senior Brenda Pham, one of Ortiz’s teammates, added that the event is akin to a quarter-long class but takes place in a much shorter timeframe.

“This is comparable to [a] class where you have a whole ten-week period,” Pham said. “But now it’s condensed into three days and you get to make something more tangible and more fun.”

Muir College senior Jeffrey Wang, another one of Ortiz’s teammates, pointed out that the Make-A-Thon is a hands-on alternative to what is called a Hackathon, during which students gather together and program for 24 or 36 hours.

“[Hackathons are] usually software because it’s easy to build things in software, whereas we’re mechanical engineers and it’s not that easy to build a car in 36 hours,” Wang said.

Autodesk, Robo3D and Sixth College Student Council were the official sponsors of the event.