Engineering club designs 3D printer from scratch


Senior Shahar Ben-Dor and the WJ Engineering Club built a 3D printer from scratch this past semester. Their club, along with many others at the school, has big goals and meets them through hard work and determination.

Ashwin Kammula

Around Montgomery County, Walter Johnson students are known for their ambitious and passionate nature. Engineering Club, a new club at WJ, demonstrates just that.

Many students gain experience in engineering with courses such as Introduction to Engineering Design and Engineering Science. However, they rarely get to experience what a career in engineering would be like. This year, senior Shahar Ben-Dor founded Engineering Club for exactly this purpose.

The club’s first project has been to build a 3D printer from scratch. Ben-Dor, along with a few friends, started planning for this project back during the summer.

“Last summer, after seeing a YouTube video about 3D printers, I became inspired to build my own 3D printer. The next day, me, [senior Sean Murphy] and [junior Alex Movsesyan] went to Radioshack and we found a lot of the parts needed to build the [3D printer],” Ben-Dor said.

While Ben-Dor could easily visualize his project, for others on the team, it was more challenging to see the project coming to life.

“When Shahar first asked me to help him with this project, I thought he was crazy. However, after making a design and getting a lot of the parts, the 3D printer quickly became a reality,” Movsesyan said.

This club is not like any other club at WJ. They met everyday during lunch, continuously working on their project. This incredible motivated group of individuals have pushed themselves to their limits, working tirelessly until they achieved their goal.

“Since I could only work on the 3D printer for around 45 minutes each day during lunch, it was hard to make progress in a single day, but together over the course of the year, we’ve been able to make progress,” Ben-Dor said.

Just as he learned in his Intro to Engineering course, Ben-Dor started with drawing a simple design of a product, and from there he kept building. He built the frame out of meticulously measured wood, and then started to connect the motors and electronics. To finish, Ben-Dor wrote a program to control the various motors on the printer.

The printer is now functioning and all the members of this club feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction from the experience.

“Working on this project has been really fun. While it was hard at times, I really learned a lot about the life of an engineer and the engineering process,” Movsesyan said.

For anyone interested in joining this club for future projects, they meet in Room 211 every day during lunch and are always open to new members.