The 3D printing realm is in a state of constant growth and evolution. As we see one invention after another building upon itself—whether related to the medical field, aerospace industry, or fine arts—many of us are becoming very spoiled as we soak up a list of mind-boggling innovations and then wait to see what new creations will be born by the next day, outdoing the previous. Parallel to this ever expanding and competitive world that is beginning to transform so many processes, is also a thriving evolution of 3D printing technology within education, and related business communities as well. Driven by manufacturers of all sizes, as well as the enthusiasm of many learning institutions on their own, the mission for accessibility and affordability for everyone within digital design and 3D printing is definitely coming together, despite some degree of initial skepticism.
The advent of the MakerBot Innovation Center has been a catalyst for offering 3D printing accessibility to universities around the world, and connecting them with businesses who are interested in getting involved—bringing together many within the community via technology. And just a couple of years ago, SUNY New Paltz was the only university to boast such a center on their campus. It has been well-celebrated and certainly well-used not just by students and faculty, but also by the nearby thriving business community. The lab, directly upon its initial installation, was also helpful in advancing the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) as a major hub for innovative manufacturing technology in the Hudson Valley. We have watched these programs grow and evolve too, inspiring the many who are able to enjoy the benefits of such a high tech setup in the vicinity.
And as these labs seem to take on a very positive life of their own, it’s just been announced that the HVAMC will open a ‘super lab.’ Formally designated as a Stratasys MakerBot Additive Research & Teaching (SMART) Lab, this will allow those involved at HVAMC to offer expert advice in the areas of 3D printing and how it works, as well as educating on the materials and design aspects of the technology.
“We’re continually impressed with the industry partnerships SUNY New Paltz is engaged in,” says Gina Scala, director of global marketing, Stratasys Education. “The investment they have made in industrial-grade additive manufacturing equipment in the SMART Lab, combined with its expert staff, is allowing increased access for all.”
“It’s exciting to see economic development for local industry and academic development collide, creating fireworks of innovation and benefit for all.”
This SMART lab, which opened on June 22, indeed should markedly accentuate student education as well as broadening the horizons of the Hudson Valley business community. Now in company with some of the most advanced labs in the world, it boasts:
- Forty MakerBot 3D printers
- One industrial-grade Objet260 Connex multi-material 3D printer
- One Fortus 400mc Production 3D printer
- Two Stratasys Dimension 3D printers
“Our designation as a SMART lab is huge step for the HVAMC,” says Dan Freedman, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering and Director of the HVAMC. “The combination of our unique focus at the interface of art, engineering and science, and the recognition and support by the world’s leading manufacturer of 3D printers, will move us to an unparalleled interdisciplinary educational experience, help us support regional businesses, and give our faculty the tools and expertise to do cutting-edge scholarship in art, engineering and design.”
The lab was opened in cooperation not only with MakerBot and Stratasys, but also the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, known as a comprehensive resource for businesses just moving to this ‘vibrant environment’ for commerce, or expanding within. This resource provides information on available buildings and sites in the seven New York counties they serve, as well as offering information regarding market data, the local workforce, and more. They also work with development professionals on all levels in New York to help set up meetings, see projects move forward more quickly, and help with access to financial incentives. This corporation played a major role in helping SUNY New Paltz to get involved with 3D printing and numerous mechanical engineering programs that are currently extended to both students and the surrounding community as well.
Open to the entire campus, students are welcome into the new SMART lab whether their field of study is related or not, enjoying this new 3D printing hub that will welcome everyone, with great hopes for seeing the Hudson Valley economy thrive even further. Have you participated in using a university 3D printing lab? What are your thoughts on this growing trend? Let’s talk further over in the HVAMC Smart 3D Printing Lab forum over at 3DPB.com.[Images: HVAMC]