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3D Printing in Higher Education By Carlie Wagner A look at how 3D Printing is making the college experience way more cool. If you were to leaf through a pile of recent college promotional materials, you will instantly realize that 3D printing in higher education is big news. From engineering departments, to architectural schools, to fine arts programs, everybody is lining up to showcase the fact that they offer innovative technologies like 3D printing to their students. As students across the country get settled into their dorm rooms and begin to take their first exams, it seems like a great time to examine just how different disciplines are integrating 3D printing into their curriculum. Engineers Once upon a time, engineering students were forced to painstakingly create prototypes by hand. While this process is, no doubt, still studied, many schools are now offering students an assortment of sophisticated 3D printers on which to create their prototypes. In the Engineering Machine Shop at the University of Iowa, for example, students can choose between the Fortus 250mc, a Fortus 400 Production System, and an Objet 260. The University of Florida’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Prototyping Facility features three Stratasys Dimension 1200es, a Fortus 360mc, a Roland MDX-540, and a Next Engine 3D Scanner. At Arizona State University, students have access to a 15,000 square-foot Additive Manufacturing Center, featuring $2 million worth of 3D printing equipment. Austin Community College, Architectural and Engineering CAD Department students are showcasing how a printer can be used for prototyping purposes. The advanced mechanical classes feature a semester-long project in which students create a twin valve engine that incorporates 3D printing into the design process. Students aren’t only expected to produce the engine, they are also asked to formulate their own improvements, creating a more innovative product. 3D printers are also changing how engineering students are looking at the very materials that their products are made from. At ASU, for example, researchers at the Fulton Schools of Engineering are working on developing innovative lattice structures with the help of a 3D printer. Engineers are turning more and more to lattice structures because they are much stronger than traditional materials of the same weight. Because these structures are difficult to create with traditional manufacturing methods, however, 3D printing is the perfect application. The team at ASU working on lattice structures has recently been awarded $281,000 worth of grant money from America Makes. Architects The most obvious way that architectural students can take advantage of 3D printing is when it comes to model building. Clicking Print and watching your CAD model come to life is much less labor- intensive than manual model building. Since the potential for large-scale 3D printing as a means of building construction has become clearer, however, architecture students are also www.cadlearning.com 29