germanreprap2We have seen many, many case studies about how German RepRap has improved manufacturing and prototyping processes for industrial clients – from automotive companies to aircraft manufacturers to companies that make fans and ventilation systems. However, German RepRap’s reach extends far beyond the manufacturing world – it turns out that their printers are also valuable tools for educators. The Aachen University of Applied Sciences has been using the company’s PRotos V3 printer for years, and recently the school put the printer to additional use with their 3D Printing Summer School.

The first 3D Printing Summer School session was held at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Aachen’s partner school in Pretoria, South Africa. TUT intends to set up an additive manufacturing innovation center soon, and the recent summer school session introduced both students and university employees to the technology. Between 25 and 30 people attended the session, which took place over five days and utilized German RepRap printers to teach the attendees about 3D printing.

“We firstly talked generally about the subject of 3D printing, its applications and the processes involved,” said Laura Thurn, one of the summer school’s attendees. “This also included the FDM process, i.e. plastics applications, which was then covered in detail. CAD was then discussed – how proprietary technical drawings can be designed and produced, and what requirements had to be observed.”

Summer School Pretoria (5)

Printer assembly was also a large part of the curriculum, as German RepRap’s PRotos V3 comes in kit form. The printer was assembled as part of a workshop for the summer school attendees.

“We are delighted with the German RepRap printer kits!” said Thurn. “Especially the assembly of the 3D printers together is very useful for working with the machine later and understanding the technology.”

LogoMain2The summer school program wasn’t intended to educate its attendees just for education’s sake: it was ultimately a training session to create new teachers of the technology. The students and professors who participated in the program will not only be mastering 3D printing for their own use, but will also go on to educate their fellow students and colleagues in information that is rarely taught in TUT’s engineering courses.

Laura Thurn

Laura Thurn

“The boys and girls from the mechanical engineering faculty who have taken part in the project are currently being trained as tutors and are then deployed accordingly,” Thurn continued. “It’s no use assembling a 3D printer if you don’t have anyone who has the necessary know-how. The knowledge transfer is a really important issue. Work is therefore currently in progress to regularly set up new seminars and courses on the subject of 3D printing. So-called International Weeks are already provided, which we hold twice a year in the form of workshops at the TUT university. TUT also offers further seminars which cover the software for the 3D printers.”

A second 3D Printing Summer School session is already being set up, to be held at the end of August. You can find more information, as well as register for the program, here. Discuss in the 3D Printing Summer School forum over at 3DPB.com.

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