Student Spotlight: Matt Sauer


Matt Sauer stands beside his 3D printer

Three months ago, junior Matt Sauer was faced with a decision:  He could pay off his first car or invest in a 3D printer.  To many high school students, the car would instantly win;  however, Sauer chose the printer, and he loves it.

“Basically, I 3D print stuff out of plastic for fun,” Sauer said.  “A 3D printer is something that prints things in three dimensions. It lays it out on a .1 to .3 mm spread, and then it goes layer by layer making your object. The best way to describe it is you’re cutting an image designed on the computer into sheets of paper in the memory, which then gets printed in page by page plastic.”

Sauer uses the 3D printer for both entertainment and other applications.

“I’ve made extending wolverine claws, ornaments, glow in the dark ones too.  Also rings, a bridge, a couple fake knives, throwing stars and artificial looking weapons like a gun for my karate class,” Sauer said.

Sauer first became interested in 3D printing his sophomore year while taking the Principles of Engineering and Design class taught by Cliff Amen. Here, he was able to use the school’s 3D printer for his projects.

“Back in Amen’s class, I began learning about the 3D printer and fell in love with it. Being able to design things and seeing them come to life amazed me,” Sauer said. “I’m now president of TSA robotics Design Club (Technological Students Association of Robotics Design Club). It’s a fun club, though I was more interested in and more frequently printed back in Mr. Amen’s class.”

Sauer considers himself a well-rounded individual.

“I like to know a little about a lot versus a lot about a little. If you know a little about everything, you can usually figure the rest out on your own.  Some call me a Jack of Many Trades,” Sauer said.

However, Sauer’s main interest has always been in computer programming.

“Computers and video games have interested me since I was six, when my dad and I built a computer. And I have been coding in Java, C, and a few other programming languages on my own since middle school,” Sauer said.  “But I really got into computer programming when I took Mr. [Jason] Townsend’s two semester AP Computer Science course last year. Since then I have programmed three video games, data distribution software, and am working on several newer projects that are more complex.”

Sauer plans to pursue Software Engineering in college for his major, and has been offered a scholarship to do so.

“I [went] to ROLLA over the summer for an entry course, so I’ve earned a $500 scholarship for a major in Computer Engineering.  You name it, and I could program it,” Sauer said.

Sauer believes his wide range of interests makes him stand out.

“I consider myself to be abnormally abnormal. Meaning, everyone is abnormal, so it’s normal.  I am abnormal even for the norm– and I like it that way,” Sauer concluded.

Sauer’s least favorite class in school was English.

“I have always had a particular disdain for the English classes offered at West High. It’s not the teachers, but the curriculum.  Who cares if I can’t spell great, it is my communication that counts. We programmers create things like Word Check for a reason,” Sauer said.

Sauer holds one mantra especially close: “Use the technology, people! Use it!”