This semester, our Mechanical Engineering students, led by STEM Director Hal Scripka, will apply their design and engineering knowledge to a new project called the "Fab Lab" Newtonian Telescope. The telescope will be at least 8 ft. tall and durable enough for use by elementary students.

The 12 high school students creating the telescope will be graded on critical thinking, designs, participation and teamwork. The project provides a venue to improve technical designing skills and gain build experience, as well as the opportunity to create a tangible product that will provide value to the school for years to come.

The students involved in this project include:

Chris Archer
Christian Carpenter
Jon Consoli
Garret Depew
Robby Griffina
Elijah Klein
Logan Lane
Beau Nunnally
Candler O'Neal
Brandon Pugh
Edward Storey
Jon Yancey

Monday - Presenting Designs

Students presented their designs for the upper cage. A lot of great critical thinking went into these designs. Students made excellent materials choices, balancing weight and strength, as well as maximizing value for the project on some internal pieces.

PvC was often chosen for its waterproof qualities, structural support, and ability to directly support the focuser. Groups then took the best components of each design to make one final design and materials/cost workup.

The group with the best design for the upper cage consisted of students Jon Consoli, Brandon Pugh, and Jon Yancey.

Friday - Design Requirements

Students spent much of the class time on the design requirements for the bearing at the base of the telescope.

STEM Director, Mr Scripka, showed many examples of different designs to open the floor up for discussion. Aesthetics, material, design, function, feasibility, ease of use, and cost were all considered very heavily during the process.

Part of the engineering design process is combining what needs to be done, what can be done within time and cost constraints, and the team's creativity and execution.

This 4th period class has been doing an excellent job at balancing those three parts, and it is such a joy to watch them work!


Applications are now being accepted for the STEM Diploma Track. Enrollment is open for rising 9th and 10th grade students. Students accepted into the track will engage in a demanding program of study focusing on STEM related competencies and hands-on experience.

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