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CSU Dominguez Hills 3D Models Bring Youth Toyota Dream Cars to Life

Students working in the fabrication labs in the California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) got an accelerated course in hands-on project management and design when they partnered with Toyota Motor North America for the company’s annual Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest.

Toyota taps CSUDH students to create real-life versions of drawings from
annual Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest youth winners
Exhibition on display at Petersen Automotive Museum through March 27, 2022

In early 2021, Toyota’s Social Innovation Division approached CISE Director Kamal Hamdan with the idea of using the CISE fabrication labs to create 3D replicas of selected winning entries. Each year, children between the ages of 4 and 15 enter the contest, drawing fantastical images that illustrate the car of their dreams. The 2022 contest is accepting entries until January 31. Details at www.ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com.

“The dream car art contest encourages youth to dream of the future of mobility, and the students at CSU Dominguez Hills helped bring that dream to life for the winners of last year’s contest,” said Michael R. Medalla, Manager, Toyota USA Foundation. “Through this activity, the students were provided with hands-on learning to further develop their skills, and we are so amazed at what they were able to achieve.”

“When I first saw the drawings, I thought, ‘Where do I start?’,” said Maritza Trujillo, one of the CSUDH students who worked on the project. “It had so many small details! With the help of my group members, everything came together very well, though.”

The teams spent about eight months working on creating a total of seven 3D models. They received hands-on experience of every aspect of the process—from initial planning and project management to the final 3D printing and assembly of the models.

Each team spent a week or so examining the drawings and planning and brainstorming their approach. Next, prototypes were created out of clay or wood, to allow team members to determine exactly how their cars would fit together.

Designs were created with CAD modeling software, then turned into physical pieces in the Fab Lab’s 3D printers. Laser cutters and vinyl cutters allowed the students to make fine adjustments to their pieces, which were then assembled into the actual vehicles. Printing and assembly of the vehicles took between four and five weeks, and then painting and putting the finishing touches on the cars took another week or two.

For Fab Lab technician Nicol Funes, the best part of the entire project was when they showed the results to the students who had drawn the original artwork. “That made me really proud, seeing the faces of the artists and their reactions to how we took their drawings and converted them to 3D models.”

As the culmination of the pilot project, the models are now on view at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. “I’m proud that this project is being displayed at the Petersen Museum,” says Trujillo. “We get to show what we’ve created to our family members, other students, and the community.” The exhibit will remain on view at the Petersen through March 27, 2022, and plans are underway to repeat the project aligned with next year’s contest.

“This has been an excellent educational opportunity to share ideas generated by kids across the country so that our—children and adults—can experience the design process, which underlies not only automotive manufacturing but innovation in any field, as well as explore the future of the automobile,” said Terry L. Karges, executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

“When people visit the museum, I hope they can see our hard work and our dedication to this project,” says Funes. “It’s a great way to show people what we can do here. Hopefully this project will help expose more kids to STEM fields, and cause them to explore STEM majors themselves.”

The seven 3D models are:

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Images available to download via CSUDH SmugMug 

B-roll by CSUDH also available for use

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships. Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 36,000 in the U.S. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 30 million cars and trucks at our 9 manufacturing plants, 10 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021. To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.

The first Toyota Dream Car Art Contest was held in Japan during 2004 and it has expanded to include nearly 90 countries today who host their own national contests. The United States launched its first national contest in 2012. All countries submit their top nine winners to Japan as entries to the world contest. To learn more about the world contest, visit www.Toyota-DreamCarArt.com. To learn more about the USA contest, visit www.ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com. Submissions are typically accepted during October through January of each year by mail or online.

California State University, Dominguez Hills is a model urban university with a wide range of academic programming, providing accessible, high quality, and transformative education to students aspiring to succeed and thrive in a complex, global society. Since 1960, CSU Dominguez Hills has served a diverse community of learners and educators collaborating to change lives and communities for the better. A national model and laboratory for student success, the university offers a proven path to opportunity and social equity, advancing a college-focused culture in the communities it serves while providing vital resources of knowledge, talent, and leadership to the greater Los Angeles region and beyond. Today, CSU Dominguez Hills boasts over 100,000 alumni – doctors, scientists, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs – who are leaders in education, health, technology, entertainment, public service, and business, making a difference in their fields, in people’s lives, and in their communities. CSU Dominguez Hills is centrally located in the greater Los Angeles South Bay region. For more information, visit www.csudh.edu.

The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity. The museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, 90036. Admission prices are $17 for general admission adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for children ages 4 to 17. Active military with ID, personal care attendants and children under age 4 are admitted free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For general information, call 323-930-CARS or visit www.petersen.org.