bus levels

Jefferson Hills students create useful levels that look like Pittsburgh buses

Pittsburgh buses have had a rough couple of years – falling into sinkholes and plunging down ravines atop collapsed bridges, finding themselves at truly odd angles. But new Pittsburgh buses created by local kids are definitely on the level.

Adam Gebhardt’s art classes and entrepreneurship club at Jefferson Hills Intermediate School have created the “bus level” that you see above, and you can get yourself one of these only-in-Pittsburgh creations.

For those who aren’t familiar, a level is a tool that measures whether a surface is truly vertical or horizontal. The levels these students have created come encased inside a 3-D printed plastic city bus. The Jefferson HIlls kids are selling them here.

The school’s 3-D printers (funded by a donation from Allstate in Pittsburgh) can run all day and print 44 buses per day if they run nonstop.

As of March 1, Gebhardt said the students had “received 69 new orders for a total of 154 buses so far.” They’re continually making more: The school’s bank of 3D printers (donated by Allstate in Pittsburgh) can print 44 buses per day, if they run nonstop.

The class plans to give some of the bus levels to the Port Authority and first responders as a ‘thank you’ for their quick thinking and efforts to rescue the fallen passengers.

Along with being a great lesson in hands-on making, the students are learning all about running a business, including how to ship their new product to customers. This involves buying bubble mailers, a postal scale, and a thermal label printer to use in the classroom. As they learn, they’re streamlining their shipping and production process during class time and after school.

Through their TJ3D business club, they hope to use sales of the bus levels to raise funds for a new, very ambitious project — creating a 3-D printed, life-sized LEGO go-kart.

The idea for that came from a Zoom with the creator of “BB-8,” the rolling ball-shaped droid from the “Star Wars” universe, who also made a life-sized LEGO go-kart. The students’ ambitious plan is to design, enlarge, and 3-D print each piece of the go-kart. Along with using proceeds from the bus levels, they plan to seek corporate, community and crowdfunding help to pay for the mechanical parts and raw materials to build it.