Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
Archives
PCCDs classified employees pose for a pic at the first-ever professional development day for classified professionals. PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson reflected on the event in her report to the Board of Trustees. (Source: PCCD)
Peralta’s leadership search, CCC public safety earmark, and “rumors” discussed at 4/9 meeting of PCCD Trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Student Trustee Naomi Vasquez, who was sworn onto the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees on Dec. 12, 2023, sees her role as an opportunity to uplift her fellow students and advocate for the value of a community college education.
Student Trustee Naomi Vasquez aims to lift voices and empower students at PCCD
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • February 28, 2024
Archives

    3D printers give depth to Laney computers

    ‘We played with Legos — now kids can build legos’

    Richard Bell hands me a plastic hubcap. It’s a replacement part for a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a car made circa the 1960s. Now, as you can imagine, when it comes to finding parts for a car that old, you’re looking at a needle in a haystack situation. But Bell took a hassle-free approach. He simply printed it on one of Laney College’s 3D printers.
    “We’ve always had that IKEA furniture that becomes useless with that one messed up part,” said Bell, an instructional aide. “Now, with 3D printers, you can print that one part in your own home, and fix it yourself.”
    Fab Lab Coordinator Danny Beesley demos 3D printer at EcoFest.Bell’s hubcap project is just one example of how 3D printers can revolutionize our lives, and in very practical ways. From food, to fashion, to drones, to prosthetic limbs, 3D printers are shifting human design potential from the ground up.
    According to Bell, they’ve opened up a whole new world.
    “In our days, we played with Legos,” Bell said. “Now kids can build the actual blocks themselves.”
    Bell was one of those kids that loved to take things apart and put them back together again. After serving eight years in the Marines, he gravitated towards computer science and engineering, and when Laney College acquired its first 3D printer a year ago, Bell was hired to teach students how to use it.
    While 3D printers have been alive and well since the mid-nineties, they ran in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is why many of us haven’t heard of them until recently. It wasn’t until 2010 that 3D printers became accessible for personal use, thanks to MakerBot Industries. 
    In addition to manufacturing 3D printers, MakerBot also runs Thingiverse, a web forum and user-submitted design gallery where people can share their 3D designs. Featured are creations ranging from fully functioning cameras to avant-garde high heels. 
    Today’s prices for a typical 3D printer hover around $2,000 to $3,000, and commonly use one of two types of plastics as “ink.” PLA (Polylactic Acid), which is derived from cornstarch is fully biodegradable. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is the same type of plastic used in Legos, is petroleum based, but recyclable. Now, there are even attachments where plastics can be melted down to become “ink” for re-use in a 3D printer. 
    Laney College’s 3D printers are housed in G273, and are a part of the curriculum for Computer Information Systems (CIS) 5, taught by Department Co-Chair Jose Flores. The course is a comprehensive journey into computer science.
    “When people think of computer science, they think of programming, but it’s also the hardware,” said Bell. “In CIS 5, students are able to see a more full approach, and it’s a segue to robotics.”
    The course requires students to learn to program a Rasberry Pi, a computer chip the size of credit card with the processing power of a full on computer. 
    “I was intimidated at first,” said Tamaris Usher, a CIS 5 student. “But with patience and paying attention, everything starts to connect like a puzzle.” 
    Usher notes that the class is very demanding, but he appreciates that the curriculum is designed to ingrain the knowledge in such a way where “you’ll never forget it.” According to Usher, when it comes to learning programming, “everything has to be ‘pitch-perfect’ down to the period and space.”
    Bell appreciates the importance of teaching technology. “Computers are not a fad. They’re not going away,” said Bell. “Being able to understand how they work helps you in the long run.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Citizen
    $0
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Comments (0)

    All Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *