Students can create 3D objects using printers


Nikko Maresca

The Hatchery on the third floor of Careers in Room 326 has a 3D printer that allows students to print models to help them with their business plans and ideas.

Alex Fregger, Technology Editor

AACC students can bring their two-dimensional designs to life using 3D printers on campus.

3D printing, called “additive manufacturing,” uses molten plastic to build an object layer by layer by printing over the same area again and again.

According to Manager of Instructional Technology Cathy Bosse, this gives students the opportunity for hands-on experiences without leaving campus.

For instance, to look at ancient fossils in person, students would normally have to go to a museum. With 3D printing, however, they can print a model of a fossil.

Third-year business student Nick Kiraly, president of the Drone Club and Entrepreneurs Club, said he uses 3D printers to modify and replace parts of drones.

Dean of Science and Technology Lance Bowen and Dean of the Virtual Campus Colleen Eisenbeiser are working to create a makerspace lab “where students would have access to come in and design and build things, print things,” Bowen said.

For example, students in the Entrepreneurs Club who design widgets—small mechanical devices—could print 3D versions of the objects in the lab.

Bowen said the lab might include laser cutters, which are high-powered machines that cut materials; etchers, which create patterns or designs on an object’s surface; and a CNC machine, a tool for carving and engraving wood.

“It’s just talk right now,” Bowen said. “I think I would like to see … [the] makerspace go up here in the next year or so. I think it’s doable.”

“Students using 3D printing [have] a good opportunity to see their ideas come to life,” second-year business administration student Destyni Fermaint said.

According to Bowen, architecture and interior design students already use 3D printers in class to test the integrity of the structures they design.

“You could pretty much use it anywhere,” Bowen said. “Imagine printing out the Globe Theatre and talking about Shakespeare. This is what it was like, this is how they did it.”

Bosse said groups of students that want to see a demonstration can contact her to make an appointment.