Ready for Career Success: North Carolina Interior Design Students Gain Valuable Skillsets in 3D Printing

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randolph_logoAs the benefits of digital technology and fabrication begin to show themselves in nearly every corner of the globe today, we see them seeping into nearly every sector—and thankfully, education is a major one. While there may be many different classes and the learning of new skills pre-graduation that seem arduous, nothing seems to light students up more than digital design and 3D printing. To see this in action, it’s as easy as striking up a conversation about the new technology with students. And why the enthusiasm? It’s simple. 3D printing opens the door to a whole new world of making, doing, and success. Success in designing, success in making a streamlined, innovative project directly from your desktop—and success in doing it on your own.

Today though, it also offers success in finding a job. And with the level of instruction and experience that many students today are receiving on the digital technology front—especially with 3D modeling and 3D printing—they very likely may go into jobs knowing more than their bosses do. And what a gift that is, as many of us well know that feeling of the first day on the job, with an entirely new office to navigate—not to mention the terror of a host of new software programs and processes to memorize.

For interior design students in Asheboro, NC on the cusp of graduating with two-year degrees from Randolph Community College, their entry into a fresh, new career will have a strong foundation built on relevant instruction in 3D printing and knowledge of software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

“We are in the process of developing a new course called Digital Applications in Interior Design,” said Holly Barker, department head for design programs.

The Mcor Matrix 300+ 3D Printer being used at RCC.

The Mcor Matrix 300+ 3D Printer being used at RCC.

As they work to integrate 3D printing fully into the curriculum, students can look forward to taking the new course in the summer between their first and second year. This is part of a push to make sure that students graduate with the proper knowledge, as well as moving with the times—and the future—in terms of providing instruction in what software and hardware is moving to the forefront.

“Right now, we are laying the groundwork in the AutoCAD class,” Barker said.

She explains that while digital design and 3D printing are still up and coming for interior designers, it is actually technology that the furniture industry has already been employing for a while now in terms of design, scale modeling, and architecture. Students are not the only ones learning in the process either, as Barker has just completed an online digital imaging class at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she is working on her Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture.

For 3D printing, the college has purchased a Matrix 3D printer. This is a machine that we are well familiar with and we’ve followed Ireland’s Mcor for years now as they are an incredibly dynamic company that is very engaged in the 3D printing industry, and most famous for their affordable and unique 3D printers such as the Matrix that can use ordinary copy paper for materials—allowing for affordability and incredible innovations—making everything from incredible jewelry to inspiring model replicas.

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Second-year Interior Design student Fernando Santillan works on a room design in SketchUp in his Architectural Portfolio course

Students are also being instructed in the popular SketchUp software for 3D modeling. This should serve them well in its ubiquity and popularity once they graduate. It’s a great choice for students as a tool both in that it is so user-friendly and lends itself well to beginning experimentation, as well as making the types of models and prototypes interior designers will need to create.

The obvious hope is that with 3D modeling and 3D printing skills, RCC graduates will have a leg up in the job force, with employers hearing about the new programs, seeing a flow of impressive resumes coming their way, and being able to fill positions with qualified designers. Do you think this will make a difference for new graduates? Discuss in the Interior Design 3D Printing Classes forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Asheboro Courier-Tribune / Images: RCC via Courier-Tribune]
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Bonnie Mabry, a second-year Interior Design student, works on 3D modeling in her Architectural Portfolio course

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