There is no doubt in my mind, that in less than one decade (probably a lot sooner), the majority of schools and universities around the world will have access to at least one 3D printer. The technology is expanding so quickly, and innovators are coming up with new uses for it on a daily basis.
One MIT graduate, named AJ Perez, who I have had the pleasure of speaking to in the past, sees the technology of 3D printing as having huge potential in the future of education. Back in July, we reported on a new 3D printer that Perez’s company, NVBOTS had designed, called the NVPrinter. The printer, as well as NVBOTS’ business plan, differ quite a bit from other 3D printer manufacturers.
Today, NVBOTS has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable.com, in order to raise funds for the further development of their 3D printers, but mainly to allow for an easy way for those looking to make a difference within their communities to donate a 3D printer to their local schools.
“In order to truly leverage the power of 3D printing, we must train the next generation of scientists, engineers, designers and inventors on design for 3D printing,” said NVBOTS CEO AJ Perez. “By providing the skills and simple fabrication tools, such as the NVPrinter, I believe we will see a radical shift in the innovation cycle. Limited access to capital equipment can restrict the potential of a creative mind. We hope to eliminate this obstacle through the Fundable rewards campaign.”
3D printing is only going to continue its rapid growth, as businesses around the world begin adopting the technology for rapid prototyping, as well as for the manufacturing of customized final products. As time goes on, we will begin seeing more and more companies adopting the technology for various activities within their businesses. NVBOTS sees this, and realizes that those students who have an opportunity to work with this technology will have an upper hand in driving it forward, once they join the workforce.
The NVPrinter is designed to fuel innovation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education as well as in small to large scale businesses. It has been designed in a way that makes the entire 3D printing process an easy one, for virtually anyone who knows how to use a PC, smartphone or tablet. Some of the key benefits and features include:
- World’s first fully-automated 3D printer, which utilizes a patent-pending process to automatically remove items from the build envelope once complete. This allows for print jobs to be queued up, rather than require individuals to reserve time on a 3D printer. This means more items can be printed, in the most time efficient manner possible, without the need for having someone oversee the process on-site.
- Ability to share the use of, and operate NVPrinters around the clock from any device (smartphone, tablet, PC, etc.).
- A simplistic way of 3D printing, which puts the technology in the hands of individuals with virtually no familiarity. It is as simple as selecting a model, deciding how strong you want it to be once printed, and then clicking “print”.
- Unique 3D printing curricula for those interested in fully basing classroom assignments around this technology. Teachers and professors are not all knowledgeable of 3D printing, so NVBOTS has created curricula to help them along the way as far as lesson plans and classroom projects go.
- Certified filament that has been tested and assured to work with NVPrinters.
- Full service support for all users, including repairs, guidance, and help with any potential issues.
- A unique rental service. Business and schools do not purchase an NVPrinter. Instead they rent them on a year-to-year basis with a money back (pro-rated) guarantee. This means that as new technology comes about, their 3D printers will not lag behind. They can simply rent the newest model, or have theirs upgraded to the latest technology available.
If all goes as planned, NVBOTS expects to have 25 printers in the field by the end of this year. There are already several schools and organizations that have been using NVPrinters, including MITs Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, Newton North High School, and North Central Charter Essential School.
This Fundable campaign aims to bring 3D printers to schools that typically do not receive much funding. Pledge amounts start as low as $5, and go up to $9,999. NVBOTS is offering some discount prices for early-bird backers. They are offering up 10 early-bird educational starter packages for only $2,499. This will provide schools with a starter bundle at a discount of $500. Early-bird educational unlimited packages are also discounted for the first 10 backers. They can be obtained via a $3,999 pledge (a $1,000 discount). Also available are the business packages, starting at $5,499 for a starter package. More details on all of the packages can be seen at the official Fundable campaign page.
All in all, NVBOTS has a goal of $100,000 set on Fundable. For those who contribute less than the $2,499 needed in order to donate a printer to a school, the funds will go toward bringing 3D printers to Citizen Schools in Boston and Chelsea, MA. Citizen Schools is a nonprofit organization that partners with public schools in lower-income areas, to help expand learning opportunities to students during longer school days.
“At Citizen Schools, some of our students have already been able to experience the NVPrinter, which has inspired them in ways never thought possible,” explained Steven Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. “The fact that NVBOTS is working to provide us with additional 3D Printers is a testament to how passionate they are about helping our students thrive in STEM education.”
NVBOTS is also announcing today, that they have made it into the top 25 of the Staples Crowd2Shelf campaign. They currently stand in 6th place, and the top three finalist will see their products make their way onto shelves in Staples’ retail stores. Once the Fundable campaigns end, there will be three winners chosen: The Crowdfunding Hero, The People’s Product, and The Judges Favorite. The first will be based on funding raised, while the others will be decided based on votes (respectively by funders, and judges).
“We’re excited to see NVBOTS continue on in the Crowd2Shelf Contest,” said Fundable CEO Wil Schroter. “It’s an incredible opportunity for an early stage company to get in front of a top-tier retailer like Staples, and it gives them an incredible potential path for rapid growth.”
What do you think about this new business initiative which aims to bring 3D printing to the future employees of this world, via education? Do you like the idea behind what NVBOTS is doing? Discuss in the NVBOTS forum thread on 3DPB.com. Be sure to check out the official NVBOTS video describing their printer as well as their Fundable campaign in more detail below.
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