High Tech High Media Arts employs complex and challenging projects to teach a variety of scientific and engineering skills.

Check out some of our previous projects:


Seniors: Engineering

12th Grade engineering projects runs the gamut of the world of modern technology.  Projects we've completed have ranged from Autonomous Robotics,  Augmented Reality, College level structural analysis via Bridge building, customer based product engineering and quad-copters designed to transform into planes mid-flight.

Principles of Engineering

Generally the Junior class is working on projects that will not only ready students for the rigors of their senior year, but have them walk away with projects and skills to be proud of.

Students learn basic woodwork, use and design for the laser cutter, introductory programming, and complex mechanical design.


Over a week students master 123DMake and 123DCatch in order to create beautiful objects, and awesome sculptures.  Take a quick look at what we've made over just 1 week


12th Grade students will spend a semester exploring a variety of different projects.

This semester is Bridges (Civil Engineering) Aquaponics, and Furniture Design ... its going to be fun!

Calendar of Events, Due Dates, and Project Milestones




Creating art and sculpture through 3D Modeling, advanced techniques in laser cutting and 3D printing.
Check out our projects at HTH's Village Fest Fundraiser!

Grab your own models from us then!


Useful Links:

123D Make Main Site: Download 123DMake and get support from their forums.

Thingiverse: Make sure to download only ".obj" and ".stl" files.

TurboSquid: When searching make sure to filter 'price' as 0 to 0 for free models only.

GrabCad: Make sure to only download .obj or .stl files.

6-Weeks in Autonomous Robotics


Over the next 6 weeks you'll use the following resources, in-class lectures, your own research in the fields of mechanical design, software engineering and electrical engineering.

You will build either a cat or mouse style robot from either a RC Car Chassis or an omni-directional completely custom chassis.  You will mechanically design your robot from scratch; you will wire your robot based on your own design, and you will program a robot to function from the ground up to a level where IT makes IT's own decisions.  You will come up with a strategy, which, if you do your work well, your robot will implement to defeat your enemy.

The goal of this project is to fundamentally change the way you see computers and understand robotics.

Only in Victory does a Robot RECEIVE A name



Course Documents:

Fall Course Syllabus: Self-explanatory.

Unified Safety Document: Self-explanatory.

Scheduler Walkthrough: No More Delays.

Basic Finite State Machine Tutorial: Setting up a true FSM, capable of creating robotic 'moods'.

FSM for Robots: Another FSM Tutorial as it relates to robotics.

Parts Tutorials and Sites:

Ultra-Sonic Sensor Tutorial: Instructable on how to use, wire, and program our HC-SR 04 Ultrasonic Sensors.

AdaFruit Motor Shield 2.3: Official site and guide for using the AdaFruit motor shield (mice only).

IR Beacon Official Site: Official Site and resource for the Pololu IR Beacon.

IR Beacon Guide Article: Self-Explanitory.

Talon Motor Controller with an Arduino: Self-Explanitory.

Another Talon Guide: Self-Explanitory.

CanaKit L298 Guide: Big Blue Motor Controller.

Scratch Guides:

Scratch Wiki: The main Wiki for MIT's Scratch.

Velocity In Scratch: How to make Velocity/Inertia Work.

Jumping In Scratch: A Multi-Step guide, from simple to advanced.

Video tutorial on bouncing in Scratch: Bounce, but also Gravity!

8 Week Course in Structural Analysis


Over the next 8 weeks you'll use the following resources, in-class lectures, your own research in the fields of bridge building to not only know where, but under what weight your bridge will fail.

You will build a 3-foot long, 3-inch wide balsa wood bridge, but more more importantly, you'll design your bridge using 3D modeling programs, and you will calculate your bridges maximum load using the same techniques Civil Engineers do.

The goal of this project is to fundamentally change the way you see any structure you see

I Must Break you!

(but you'll know where, when, what weight, and why within a small percent error)


Course Documents:

Class of 2014 Student made resource site: Created by Tina Milz.

Bridge Schedule Sample: Student work sample of a daily build plan and buy list.

Bridge Presentation Requirements: Self-explanatory.

Sketchup Rig: Self-explanatory.

Bridge Unit Part 1 Outline: Self-explanatory.

Bridge Assignment 1: Bridge Type Analysis: First Assignment.

Bridge Competition Rules: For the second part of this unit.

Bridge Rig Sketchup: Truss Bridges can only touch the brown on the blocks, all other bridges may make contact on any brown surface.

Professional Level Resources:

Sturcturae: A resource for finding out about different bridge types, their construction, and real world examples of them.

Stress/Strain Diagram Explaination: A good site explaining Stress, Strain, and how they interact.

Beam Deflection: A great site for helping you calculate beam deflection without calculus, just find the right situation.

Structural Steel Wiki: Exaclty what you'd expect from the wikipedia article on Structural Steel.

Cambridge's Wood as an Engineering Material: A website published by the University of Cambridge on structural wood.

Strength of Materials: Our bread and butter. This site has Young's Modulus A.K.A.Modulus of Elasticity/Elastic Modulus, Sheer Modulus, Poissons Ratio, Yeild and Ultimate Stress of a ton of materials that we'll be talking about and using.

Atributes of Balsa: A great article explaing how and why Balsa works the way it does. Critical for when you're designing and constructing your Bridges.

Strength of Materials: Balsa Specific: See "Strength of Materials", but this one is very detailed about Balsa Wood.

Video Tutorials,Guides, and Lessons:

HTHMA Engineering 9th Grade Refesher: Critical to our class is your mastery of 9th grade physics content. Here's a Kahn custom playlist to refesh your memory of what was covered just 3 short years ago.

Introduction to Sketchup Playlist: A custom playlist of tutorials that will be critical to your Sketchup skills. Even as an experienced user, this series will be useful for you to watch before, and as you model your bridges.

Stress/Strain Interactive game: A small applet that helps explain how stress and strain work. Kinda fun as well.

Statics Problem Workthrough 1: A workthrough of a simple statics problem.

Statics Problem Workthrough 2: A workthrough of a simple statics problem. Looks scary, but not as bad as you might think.

Stress/Strain Curve Explaination: A workthrough of a simple statics problem. Looks scary, but not as bad as you might think.

Simple Truss Analysis 1: A short series of videos showing the workthrough of a simple truss analysis.

Simple Truss Analysis 2: A short series of videos showing the workthrough of a simple truss analysis.

Simple Truss Analysis 3: A short series of videos showing the workthrough of a simple truss analysis.

Simple Truss Analysis 4: A short series of videos showing the workthrough of a simple truss analysis.

Simple Truss Analysis 5: A short series of videos showing the workthrough of a simple truss analysis.

16-Weeks in App Programming with Vuforia and Unity


Over the next 16 weeks you'll use the following resources, in-class lectures, your own research to create your animated 3D model, animation, custom image target, and augmented reality android application.

Students will be learn advanced 3D animation modeling, utilizing Blender as an animation engine.  Students will create a 3D model and animation of a plant growing from seed to harvest.  They will then import that model into the Unity Game engine, and using Qualcomm's Vuforia plugin, they will create an Augmented reality application for Android phones and tablets.  That app will be used at HTHMA's Garden to display the life cycle of many of the plants there.

The goal of this project is to fundamentally change the way you see your most used tool: Your Phone. This project will teach you what it takes to create a complicated App, while also giving a deep appreciation for 3D modeling and animation.

Why doesn't it work ... Why doesn't it work!!!



Blender Tutorials:

Blender Basics: 6-2 Minute videos showing the very basics of Blender.

Coffee Cup Part 1: making a photo realistic coffee mug.

Coffee Cup Part 2

Making a Building: A tutorial on architectural modelling.

Making a Chain: Making a photorealistic chain, with gravity effects.

Animation Crash Course: Basics of Animation.

Armature Crash Course: Basics of Armatures.

Bow and Arrow Rigging: Rigging little more in depth

Creating Realistic Plants Playlist

Creating Realistic Materials with Cycles: An advanced technique for creating very realistic materials.

Skinning and Weight Painting a rigged model: An advanced technique for creating rigged models with 'bones'.

Transfering from Blender to Unity:

A Shorter Tutorial: Covers the basics from moving a model over from Blender 2.7x to Unity 5.x.

A More detailed Tutorial/s: How to Import Blender Meshes, Animations and Textures.

Importing UV Texture: Using UV Maps in Blender to Add Textures in Unity.

Adding Textures to Unity from Blender: A second tutorial on using UV Maps in Blender to add textures in Unity3D.

Unity3D Guides:

The Basics: A playlist basic guide for using Unity, Watch when you begin your project.

Roll-a-Ball Project: A playlist by Unity, teaching you the basics of gravity and platforms.

Beginner UI: A playlist by Unity, teaching you the basics of User Inteface in multiple genres.

Unity Animation: Though the Blender Animator is more advanced, this animation tool can be very useful for your in game assets.

Unity Scripting: An advanced set of tutorials on Unity Scripting ... this is where your game really begins.

Vuforia in Unity Guides:

The AR Camera Tutorial: The very beginning of your AR App. Follow this first tutorial fully.

Our First AR App: We'll need to adjust some things do do a Cylidrical target, but hopefully not much.

Image Target Tutorial: A tutorial for a flat, essencial 2D target. Follow this first tutorial fully.

The Playmode Tutorial: How to get your basic App up and running.

The end of Tutorials ... the beginning of your App

Vuforia Developer Portal: You're on your own now ...

Vuforia's How To Articles: Good night and good luck.

8-Weeks in Advanced Electrical Engineering


Over the next 8 weeks you'll use the following resources, in-class lectures, your own research to create your own Audio-Amplifier designs, and then implement them.

Students will be learn the fundamentals of not only electronics, but electrical engineering.  They will learn the classical types of Audio Amplifiers. Then, they'll create their own twists on the classics, making solid state amplifiers from scratch of their own design.

These amplifiers will be used during a combined exhibition between 9th grade, students displaying their hand made musical instruments, and 12th grade students explaining how their amps work while they operate.

The goal of this project is to fundamentally change the way you see the world of electronics in a way that has been worked on and honed for the last 100 years!

Our amplifiers go up to 12.



Class Readings:

What is a Class-D Amplifier: Our First article, 1 Section per night.

Amplifier Classes: Our second article, heavier lifting, especially on the technical side.

Biasing a Transistor Guide: A decent guide on choosing your own resistors, diodes, and components.

Traditional Analog-Engineering book: 'The Book' persay, but some content that could be useful. Chapters 1,3 and 4 are directly useful. 2, 8 and 9 might be for students that wanna dive way way down.

Schematic/Simulation Resources:

Fritzing: Same as our Robot schematic maker, not as good at 'simulation'.

Part Sim: Free. Awesome. Simulator.


1 Watt Darlington Amplifier: A real darling of an article/tutorial. But Seriously folks, this is a guide to our first non-classical amp.

Another Amp Project: This isn't our full power, only about 0.3 Watt's for an 8 ohm Speaker.

Real-Talk: Resistor values: The only values you can use ... because they are the only ones that exist.

If you change nothing, no-thing will change.

The goal of this project is to fundamentally change the way you see the world.
It will, hopefully drive you to make it a better place through your creations.

16-Weeks of Design and Creation


Over the next 16 weeks you'll use the following resources, in-class lectures, and your own research to create a project of your very own design.

Students will create a projects of their own design. All projects will be for the betterment of the global, local, or school community.  They will have a specific customer, no 'surfers' or 'teachers' but an actual specific human who wants an actual specific invention or product for their use.

These constraints both help you, and focus your project, it gives you a person to ask questions like: how big, heavy, strong, light, fast, cheap, or durable does this object have to be?

You will also need to find a mentor or expert in the field in which you are creating your project.  This person is charged with helping focus you and your team on a path to success, they will help you set goals and milestones for your project.  With their help and experience, you'll have a chance to really create something extraordinary.


Course Documents:

Open Engineering Semester Outline: Self-explanatory.

What is a Milestone?: A detailed description of Milestones for your project.

Six A's: The Six A's of Project Based Learning.

Modular Project Sheet

1 Week learning the fundamentals of using the cutter


Over 1 week you'll learn the basics of laser cutter design, leveraging its incredible precision, but also learning its limitations.

You'll create a press-fit dove-tailed box, a set of gears that interface perfectly, and a custom made Geneva stop of your own design.  You'll learn basic mechanical design, design specific to our cutter, and advanced Adobe Illustrator techniques.



Laser Cutter Template: Download, and start all your work HERE!.

Laser Cutter Reflection: Close of Laser Cutter Project assignment.

Video Tutorials and Associated Links:

Just getting Started: Some things have changed since I updated my DP, but you're a bright kid, you'll figure it out.

How to Make Gears Video

Gear Generator:Gear Generator Site used in the tutorial above.

How to make a box Video

Box Generator:Box Generator Site used in the tutorial above.

Geneva Stop Illustrator Tutorial: A text tutorial on how to make a custom Geneva stop using Adobe Illustrator

Geneva Stop Video: Video referenced in the above tutorial.

Cool Sites:

507 Movements

Mechanisms 101

Student Made Work:

Box Mover

Cardan Mechanism

Variable Gears

Theo Jansen Mechanism

About Treehouse37


Mission Statement 

Treehouse 37 is a student run, small business that aims to inspire personal and academic growth through building furniture and donating the proceeds to charity.


About the Students:

Five seniors work together to successfully run the business:

Ana Reynoso works mostly on public outreach through the website. She also helps with wood prep for the wine barrel chairs. She is excited to be going to Washington College next year.  

Chase Ahrens is one of the two main chair constructors. He has put together all of the chairs and has helped with developing the plans for the new wine barrel chairs. He is all set to go to California Lutheran University next year. 

Kush Kakayia is in charge of social media. He runs the business Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. He also designed the business cards and a sign. He is committed to UC Berkley. 

Marissa Stafford wrote all of the blog posts regarding our day to day life. She also works on wood prep by sanding and poly-acrylicing. She will be attending UCLA next year.  

Tai Gomez has been the head of the construction team. He mostly worked with Chase to design and build the wine barrel chairs. He will be taking a gap year to gain culinary and business experience. 


The Treehouse:

The Treehouse 37 workshop is located in the High Tech High Media Arts senior building known as ‘the treehouse’ despite it not actually being on top of a tree. The seniors that make up the chair building team work during their engineering period, which means they get to spend about 2 hours, Mon-Fri, working on designing, building and painting the chairs, as well as doing public outreach through social media, blog posts and websites


Who Our Chairs Benefit:

The students decided they would find organizations that help the homeless and donate the profits from the chair to that organization. This year, they're going to support Project Heart, a High Tech High Media Arts junior project. The chair is going to be sold at a silent student work auction. All the proceeds from that auction will be donated to another organization that is working to build schools in Guatemala.


To read more about the company, how the chairs are built, what the average day looks like and more, visit our blog here

Our Products

Wine Barrel Design

Equipped with only a video tutorial of how to make barrel chairs, we had to figure out how we were going to build this customization of the adirondack chair. Modern Times donated 6 beer barrels, which we soon took apart in order to make the chairs. Through the semester the students worked on building 2 prototypes, and 1 'good' chair. They learned early on that the video was not as helpful as they'd hoped, so they decided they would start making as many chairs as time allowed and learn from their mistakes. 

The new, and improved version is one that features the same wide armrests as the original, along with a curved back and seating to mold to the body and a very comfortable lounging position. 

You can purchase this chair here 


The Original Design

Brendan’s first semester class worked on perfecting the original Adirondack, and the result was a popular one. Demand for the chairs went up and the class started turning into a sweatshop, making 14 chairs in just one semester. Although the result was one that was sought out and was making a profit for the class, we wanted the class to be an enjoyable one and one that required more thinking than just following plans that had already been written and perfected. They decided they would have customization options for this chair in order to slow down the production of them, and that they would learn how to make a chair out of wine barrels, which turned into a whole other challenge of it’s own.

This design features a comfortable leaning position, arm rests thick enough to place cups on, a height that is comfortable enough for most heights, and an all around perfect lounging chair.

You can purchase this chair here 

Customization for original design

Pick a color!

Now you can get the Classic Adirondack Chair in Sea Foam Green (far left), Sky Blue (middle) or Off White (right). 


Pick a finish! 

You can also pick a different finish for your chair! We offer a distressed look (far left), a matte finish (middle), or the normal, glossy appearance (far right).