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CTE Engineering Student Builds 3D Concrete Printer

February 15, 2019
When Johannes Everse looks at a pile of wood, used robotics parts, and a discarded salad bar sneeze guard,  he sees opportunity. Johannes is an engineering student at the Center for Technology and senior from South Burlington High School. As a culminating project to showcase his learning, Johannes set out to build a 3D concrete printer. Three-dimensional printing is an excellent way to design and destroy models to gain engineering data. Nearly all of the pieces in Johannes’ 3D printer were made from scrap material that he collected around the school and he designed his printer using SolidWorks software.


“The great thing about 3D printers is the ability to do rapid prototyping,” explained Johannes.


Johannes has been interested in how things work from an early age. In middle school, he used SketchUp for three-dimensional modeling and used cardboard when it came to building in real life. Currently, he is captain of the South Burlington Robotics team and has been a member of that club through his four years of high school. Jim Dirmaier, CTE’s Engineering and Architectural Design instructor, believes that Johannes’ success as a student and as a future engineer comes from his ability to “think big.”  


“Few people can do very detailed work while keeping the larger picture in mind. Johannes is someone that can see how simple changes, on a small scale, can have a huge impact,” shared Dirmaier. “He sees connections that others don’t.”


Johannes’ printer is not quite yet finished. He is working on how to tackle the correct cement mix to allow for proper extruding and curing without gumming up the printer. He is also working on a custom nozzle that prevents the cement from layering during extrusion. This design allows the concrete to be placed by gravity for a stronger cure.


When asked about what the future of the printer entails, Johannes surmised, “Maybe an engineering student will be curious why this printer is sitting in the corner, figure out how it works and add to it to make it better.”


CTE’s Engineering and Architectural Design program provides students access to industry tools and software like SolidWorks and AutoCad. Students study engineering concepts and practice rapid prototyping using the school's fabrication lab (Fablab) to learn engineering and design principles. The program is available to all high school juniors and seniors.

3D printer made from scrap materials