I always find it interesting to see how different industries and educational institutions handle the spread of 3D printing knowledge. It seems to be universally agreed upon that the technology is an integral part of the future of industry, and that its inclusion in school curriculum is a necessity, not an option. For those who completed their education before 3D printing became ubiquitous, trying to learn about the technology can feel a bit like playing catch-up. That’s why it’s always nice when universities and other organizations open up their instruction to the public with workshops and other educational events, so that those who didn’t get a chance to study the technology while in school can get some hands-on learning.
Texas A&M University Qatar is no stranger to 3D printing. The university established a 3D printing facility in 2007, and in May of this year, it hosted its third annual 3D printing competition, which encourages participants to develop new, innovative uses of 3D printing and visualization. The technology has been a course staple in the engineering department, and now the university, in conjunction with the US Embassy Qatar, is encouraging the broader community to learn about and utilize 3D printing.
The World of 3D Printing will be a week-long series of workshops given at the Qatar Scientific Club, a nonprofit organization established in 1987 and dedicated to promoting research and development in the fields of science and technology.
The workshops, which began yesterday, November 10, and will extend until November 17, are the latest in a series of partnerships between the club and the US Embassy. In May, Ambassador Dana Shell Smith was present at the official opening of the club’s Ibn Al-Haytham Science Center, which was designed for the purpose of promoting science and technology education using STEM education standards. The room is equipped with a 3D printer and scanner among other resources.
The latest workshop series, which will take place from 6 to 8 PM, will focus not only on 3D printing itself, but on design and AutoCAD technologies. The workshops will be led by 3D printing expert Yasser Al-Hamidi, laboratory manager for Texas A&M’s mechanical engineering program. Al-Hamidi has been an instrumental part in developing the university’s 3D printing facility and promoting the technology in not only the school, but in Qatar’s industry. He recently won the university’s Big Idea campaign with his proposal to spread 3D printing education as an integral part of the future of industry.
“It’s going to be abnormal in the future for students, and not (just) engineering students, to have no knowledge of 3D printing technology,” said Al-Hamidi at a 2014 3D design showcase. “You need to prepare students for what they will see when they graduate. We always make sure that our labs are up-to-date and can help keep students aware of what’s going on in the industry. We don’t want our students to see something for the first time after they have graduated.”