By Damien Guzman
East Los Angeles College engineering students Christopher Aguayo and Alex Zaragoza will be the only community college finalists in the Innovative Additive Manufacturing 3D Challenge to be held on Nov. 15 in Montreal, Canada.
Both ELAC students made the final round along with 22 other students from around the world.
The competition is held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
IAM3D focuses on 3D printed models and how students can incorporate what they’ve created into schools.
Another part of the challenge is a presentation of the project in which participants will speak to judges about how this model can help teachers in school keep students interested in engineering, as well as mathematics and science.
Zaragoza and team leader Aguayo will be competing as a team.
Aguayo and Zaragoza have been working on a STEM rocket launcher for more than a year, because they needed to make a model that met all of the standards for the competition.
They had to create a video presenting their idea and the team, a business case PDF file and a zipped file containing an image of their current design and STL and CAD files uploaded for submission.
The design they came up with is a launcher that will predict many outcomes based on the water and airflow into the projectile.
The biggest problem for them was the report they had to make in ASME Y14.1 format.
This format calls for set content standards-such as how to credit a source, figures and word choice in order to qualify.
Once they were done, Aguayo and Zaragoza were confident in what they created because it functioned correctly and met all requirements to take into the competition.
Associate Professor of Engineering and Technologies Kamy Khashayar said both students were given moral support, guidance, and the knowledge to compete by many engineering and technologies faculty members at ELAC to prepare for IAM3D.
“Alex and Chris are disciplined, organized, and motivated,” Khashayar said.
For Zaragoza, being an engineer has always been natural.
“At the age of six, I would take apart cars and modify them to increase their speed,” Zaragosa said.
His passion for mechanical engineering grew when he joined the Engineering Department at ELAC and has stayed motivated throughout his time in school.
The event that led him to major in mechanical engineering is The Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) in 2011, also hosted by ASME. The time and effort that he put into this competition made him realize he enjoyed the science in mechanical movement.
“It feels like I am a child again, but this time with more variety of toys to play with,” Zaragosa said.
He credits Brian Vasquez, adviser of the Engineering Department, with motivating him to challenge himself and become the best student possible in engineering.
Support is something that came to Zaragosa in college. Through high school, he received little to no guidance from teachers, counselors or other staff members. He became self motivated and got himself through school and continued his mission into college.
Aguayo and Zaragosa will leave for their trip on Nov. 14 and stay for three days.
Other competing schools include Purdue, State University of New York, Indian Institute of Technology and several other international schools.
ASME is only paying for $1500 of their trip and they will accept any donations.
Anyone who would like to donate can talk to Kashayar in the E-7 building.