3D Printing in Colleges: How Students Are Engaging With Additive Manufacturing

3d printing in schools

Although many people still think of 3D printing as a futuristic technology, the truth is that it has found its way into many very conventional areas of day-to-day living. Nowhere is this truer than on college and university campuses, where additive manufacturing technology is being introduced to many different classes. Here are just a few of the ways in which colleges are using 3D printing in their classrooms.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Interestingly enough, one of the most popular uses of 3D printing in colleges is to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and execution among business students. Because 3D printing can be used to create products cheaply and easily, it is a great way to get future entrepreneurs thinking about their ideas. In fact, some universities, such as Montclair State University in New Jersey, have begun to offer courses that specifically focus on the possibilities of 3D printing for entrepreneurs. This trend clearly shows that 3D printing will play a major role in the startups and small businesses of the future.

Preparing Engineering Students for the Design Challenges of the Future

Engineering was one of the first fields to adopt 3D printing technology. Today, engineering students frequently take classes in the use of 3D printers and compatible design software to help them better understand the design and manufacturing processes they’ll be working within the real world once they’ve graduated. Since 3D printing also makes it easy to quickly iterate multiple designs or even redesign entire systems with relative ease, it’s a great tool for engineers who may need to solve complex problems.

Making Complex Artwork Easier to Create

The uses of 3D printers don’t end at making products and solving design problems; the technology is just as useful in creative pursuits as it is in practical ones. For this reason, art students are increasingly getting exposed to 3D printing in college classrooms. 3D printers can be used to make extremely difficult geometries easier to create, as well as to sketch out ideas for larger artistic pieces. As with many other technologies in the past, artists have incorporated additive manufacturing as another tool to help them make their visions into reality.

3D printing in colleges, as in other spheres of daily life, is still just getting started. As the technology becomes less expensive and more refined, it will likely continue to be integrated into more and more classes and programs. Classroom 3D printers, like those offered by Me3D, can help prepare students of all ages for a future in which additive manufacturing plays a major role in education, work and daily life.