Photo courtesy of Team 6884 Deep-Space Robotics.
Photo courtesy of Team 6884 Deep-Space Robotics.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Michael Koteles


Hollister High School’s Team 6884 Deep-Space Robotics received a state-of-the-art printer on March 15 from the Shawn P. Herrera and Rodriguez Ochoa foundations.

Ramiro Rodriguez and Shawn Herrera, who represent the foundations, split the $20,000 cost of the MarkForged Printer. 

Herrera, a BenitoLink board member, said he donated because he wanted to give deep space robotics a competitive edge.

“This will allow them to march forward in their best abilities,”  Herrera said. “When I thought about this with Ramiro, if this team gets out-smarted, well that’s how they lose, but they will surely won’t get out-resourced.”

Team 6884 coach Thien Vu-Nguyen said the team is planning to create custom brackets and pieces to go on the robot. The regular printer uses Polylactic acid (PLA). He said the 3D printer uses carbon fiber which is a strong composite that makes it flexible and strong.

Vu-Nguyen said that strength and flexibility were the differences between the old printer and the state-of-the-art printer. He added that a majority of teams already have their own printers, allowing them to design the parts and then print them to make sure their designs work.

Vu-Nguyen said he only knows of three other teams using the Marked Forged Printer, adding that it’s uncommon due to its price. 

Vu-Nguyen said they are doing thorough research on the printer first because using it improperly could damage it. 

Having the printer, he said, means the team can create a lot of customized pieces on their robots, which will make their work easier. He mentioned the team now feels freer to make custom pieces instead of buying aftermarket parts.

Vu-Nguyen said the new nonprofit San Benito County Robotics will have its first fundraiser to showcase what deep space robotics can do and help other robotics teams in the county. The group says its goal is to create an educational pipeline starting in elementary school, where students can learn about robotics so that by high school, participants have the core skills for doing robotics and can create a strong team.



The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.