AMS Spring 2023

America Makes and Ultimaker Partner to Donate 3D Printers

Inkbit

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America Makes and Ultimaker have announced a partnership to donate more than 20 3D printers to communities around the United States, with a particular emphasis on encouraging diversity in the industry. The partnership is especially focused on creating opportunities in 3D printing for young women.

To accomplish this, America Makes will donate the Ultimaker printers to middle and high schools, community organizations, and nonprofits. In addition to the equipment donations, America Makes will be performing educational outreach with the recipients, to provide information on how their organizations can receive both in-person and virtual additive manufacturing (AM) training.

Image courtesy of Ultimaker

In a press release, Ultimaker’s VP for the Americas, James Butler, said, “With our partnership with America Makes, we aim to add sustainable value across our community and foster an environment of equity that enables the next generation of engineers to leverage 3D printing and solve the world’s challenges with [AM].” Josh Cramer, the director of Education and Workforce Development at America Makes, added, “We are delighted that Ultimaker has provided its 3D printing technology — a critical resource we need to grow the representation of women and diverse populations in both technical fields and engineering…”

Additionally, the press release notes that Ultimaker will provide a software program and training information to those receiving the printers, as well. Finally, it should be noted that in order to be eligible, organizations hoping to receive a printer must complete a partnership agreement with America Makes.

Image courtesy of America Makes

As technology is increasingly able to speak for itself, and AM supply chains form, it becomes clearer all the time, how the final piece of the puzzle is a significant increase in individuals with the technical know-how. Moreover, the industry should of course welcome an influx of labor from any demographic. At the same time, there is the most justification for narrowing the focus in the way American Makes and Ultimaker are, here. In the long run, the industry can’t grow without reaching as many school-age individuals as possible, and no one is going to take seriously any industry run by a bunch of middle-aged white guys.

And, most importantly of all, endeavors such as this one reinforce exactly what people love about 3D printing: the potential to maximize the possibilities of what human beings can make. Young people seem to innately appreciate this potential more than any other group, and ultimately have the most to offer the industry in terms of imagination.

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