Although 3D printing has an undeniably large number of benefits for a wide range of applications, the technology is difficult to actualize for those without much knowledge in the field. Whether you’re learning design, educating yourself on the inner workings of your 3D printer, or just figuring out how to make your additive manufacturing endeavors profitable, adequate knowledge is usually the key for success. To help educate the masses, a number of 3D printing companies have collaborated with educational institutions, particularly in public libraries.
For instance, last year, Ultimaker and 3DPrinterOS partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library—which I’m proud to say I’m a member of—to offer 3D printing classes to their members. Since then, libraries have continued to grow into a haven for 3D printing education, as the American Library Association has recently made a huge push to have 3D printing labs setup in libraries across the country. Now, the esteemed 3D printing service bureau Shapeways is partnering with the New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program to help create a free curriculum to educate future innovators and makers on the entrepreneurial side of 3D printing.
The partnership was developed in response to the White House call for action during the National Week of Making, taking place June 17 – 23. The call to action was meant to encourage companies like Shapeways to help empower the inventors and entrepreneurs in the United States. Shapeways EDU, which is the educational sector of the 3D printing service bureau, will introduce creative library members to the entrepreneurial side of 3D printing, advanced design software, and 3D printing materials. Together, Shapeways and the New York Public Library hope to get individuals engaged with the professional side of the digital era, and teaching them the value behind creating your own 3D objects.
The partnership will officially kick-off with a pilot program that will be offered this Fall, which offers a multitude of courses over a ten-week timespan. In addition to the development of the curriculum for the general public, Shapeways and the New York Public Library will also create a comprehensive, all-encompassing curriculum for the library staff as well. This will allow the staff to offer these courses without the need for assistance from outside resources, truly putting the power of 3D printing education directly into the hands of those working within the public library.
“We worked closely with the library’s education staff,” said Lauren Slowik, Shapeways Education and Design Evangelist. “The courses will focus on three unique topics including entrepreneurship and how to sell your creations, advanced manufacturing design software and 3D printing in different materials. Armed with this knowledge, more people can now turn their creative ideas into something real.”
“Shapeways’ platform enables everyone to make amazing products using 3D printing. We know many people are eager and inspired to learn more and unleash the power of digital manufacturing,” said Pete Weijmarshausen, the CEO and founder of Shapeways. “The New York Public Library is the perfect partner for us to develop public access education to bring our mission to life well beyond any individual workshop.”
Not only will this partnership serve to educate the members and staff of the New York Public Library, the collaborative effort is attempting to take this educational approach to a national level. After the completion of the pilot program this Fall, the library will provide complete access of the curriculum to the library staff, who can use the resource to educate their own teachers. In addition, Shapeways and the New York Public Library will add additional course materials and eventually publish the curriculum under an open source license, allowing any public library or institution in the US to offer this educational program to their own patrons.
All in all, this partnership could lead to a potential breakthrough in 3D printing education, which is currently available in a variety of forms, but these are not quite as accessible as the free curriculum that Shapeways EDU and the New York Public Library plan to create. With 92 locations and over 18 million annual patrons, the New York Library will soon have the opportunity to provide a vast number future makers and inventors with the proper tools and education needed to become a 3D printing entrepreneur. Discuss further in the 3D Printing Curriculum for the Library forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: Shapeways / PR Newswire]