Magazine article Techniques

3D Printing Provides Students Real-World Design Experience

Magazine article Techniques

3D Printing Provides Students Real-World Design Experience

Article excerpt

HOW THE DIMENSION 3D PRINTER ENHANCES CURRICULUM, OFFERS HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE AND GENERATES REVENUE AT OWENSBORO COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Owensboro (Ky.) Community & Technical College (OCTC) was looking to enhance its Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Machine Tool programs and curricula by incorporating technology that allows students to create functional 3D models of their integrated manufacturing projects. In October 2002, OCTC acquired the Dimension 3D Printer, which helps students gain new critical areas of expertise by creating solid model prototypes of their design projects.

Using Dimension in conjunction with 3D solid CAD, students are able to generate 3D functional models that they can use to evaluate designs, test functionality and most importantly, add to their design portfolios. In the future, the CAD Department at OCTC may offer 3D printing as part of its certificate programs, which would be a valuable accreditation students can add to their resumes

STUDENTS GENERATE REAL PARTS, REVENUE

Recently, OCTC was called upon to create a machine part for an international aluminum casting and forging company that produces structural automobile parts. The part was a protection cap for a portable coordinate measuring machine that was no longer available from the manufacturer. Without the protective cap keeping dust, moisture and moving objects from damaging wires, the machine was functioning at high risk. OCTC CAD students designed the cap by measuring and evaluating an existing working cap. Forty minutes later, using the Dimension 3D Printer and AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop Software[TM], OCTC students generated a sturdy cap model made of ABS plastic.

Today, OCTC is developing a fee schedule and procedure manual for similar solid model services to serve the local plastics industry and involve students in the day-to-day designing and prototyping of models. Providing 3D printing services to local companies will generate revenue and ultimately help in the college's long-term goal of building a full-time 3D printing center. The school plans to house the center in a proposed Advanced Technology Center, simulating an integrated manufacturing environment on-campus. It will also continue to provide students real-world experience with local manufacturing companies and enhance classroom theory with practical applications.

OCTC's Associate Professor Steve Bailes, who is the Manufacturing Division Chair and teaches computer-aided drafting notes, "We plan to use the Dimension 3D Printer as a recruitment tool when we speak to high school students at marketing events by utilizing a video featuring product design and development, then letting people touch and feel the parts made. …

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