A 3D printer recently purchased by The University of Akron Wayne College is facilitating real-world application of what students learn in the classroom.
The 3D printer, purchased with a grant from The Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust – PNC Bank Trustee, is currently being used by students in the College’s engineering program. Students who in the past created 3D images to submit as class assignments are now producing and submitting actual objects instead. According to Wayne College’s interim dean and engineering professor, Dan Deckler, the printer has created a buzz among students who are now often found spending their free time in the 3D printing lab.
“This printer has been such a hit with the students that we’re hoping to obtain another one,” Deckler said. One of the classes Deckler teaches at Wayne College is dynamics. As part of the curriculum, each student produces a model rocket using a nosecone and fin system they create. For the first time this year, students will design and print their components using the 3D printer. In the spring, students will see how their designs fare by launching them at Wayne College.
The cutting edge technology allows three-dimensional solid objects of almost any shape to be created from a digital model. CAD software lets students create or modify a design which is then printed. The technology uses a process that extrudes successive layers of material in different shapes.
According to Wayne College chemical engineering major Dusty Ball, “The printer allows us to create what we might otherwise only see in a book.”
This new type of technology will provide many additional opportunities for students as it is integrated across a wide spectrum of courses. The skills students learn will transfer directly to real-world applications.