Montclair State University Opens a MIX Lab with 35 MakerBot 3D Printers on Campus

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[Image: Carmine Galasso, The Register]

One way to follow how 3D printing is influencing higher education is to follow the number of campuses adding 3D printing spaces that allow students access to all of the latest technology, while opening it up to professors from many departments as well. One most recent example of higher education’s support for 3D printing is found at New Jersey’s Montclair State University. Located in the city of Montclair, the campus’ new MIX Lab is a state of the art facility that provides an excellent example of how 3D printing can be integrated onto college campuses while also involving the local community.

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[Image: Carmine Galasso, The Register]

The MIX Lab is located in the Feliciano School of Business’ Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship. MIX stands for “Making and Innovating for X” — with the X in the name serving as an open-ended appeal for the Lab to support formerly unknown and paradigm shattering projects. The Lab officially opened on February 18, 2016 with a panel discussion on 3D printing and tours, and its 35 MakerBot 3D printers were already available in August to the students enrolled in the University’s “Entrepreneurship, Lean Manufacturing and 3D Design” certificate program.

Director of the Feliciano center for Entrepreneurship, Dennis Bone, describes the Lab’s focus on problem-solving:

“This is a lab where students come to solve problems. We have to come up with new ways to look at the world, to make changes, to come up with innovative ideas. That’s what innovation is all about.”

It appears that students have already gotten busy innovating new problem-solving ideas using 3D printing technologies. For example, one student, Desiree Archie (see top photo), who is enrolled in the Entrepreneurship certificate program, has already created a new 3D printed toothbrush prototype design that is based on information from polling shoppers at a local supermarket.

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[Image: Montclair.edu]

One Professor, who has been very active in bringing the Lab to campus, is Iain Kerr (see second photo), Associate Professor of Innovation Design, Director of Creative Practices at the University’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, and co-director of the MIX Lab. Here he describes his goal for Lab :

“Our goal is to use 3D printing not just to build better widgets but to facilitate radical innovation. We want [the students] to be transformative and show them how to use rapid prototyping to get there.”

If you take a look at the MIX Lab’s Manifesto, available on the Lab’s website, it emphasizes different elements that seem to summarize what could be 3D printing’s goals across higher education. These nine elements are: problem innovation; incubating real world change; rapid prototyping; transformational design; entrepreneurial; project based; creativity centric; trans disciplinary; and new technologies.

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[Image: Montclair.edu]

These nine elements provide strong guidelines for the University’s new 3D printing space and the curriculum too. Given the faculty’s dedication to the technology, as well as the MIX Lab’s ecosystem that boasts 3D printers, extended fabrication abilities, design team support hubs, and K-12 education partnerships, this is not the last time we will be hearing news from Montclair State University’s 3D printing faculty and students.

Below is a video from Montclair State University’s Mike Peters. What do you think of the size of this lab? Discuss in the 3D Printing Mix Lab forum over at 3DPB.com.

 

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