In recent news, Albion College’s Instructional Technology, known as IT, just installed the first ever 3-D printer. Students are now able to create interesting and inventive projects that can be used inside and outside of the classroom.
By using 3-D printing, students are able to make three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. This machine is created by what is known as an additive process. The object is made with successive layers of material printed out until the entire object is created as a whole. Each layer is a thinly sliced cross-section of the future object.
This 3D printer starts with making a virtual design of the object. The 3-D scanner will make a 3-D digital copy of an object. This futuristic approach on printing is all the rage. People have the potential to download products either at home, or in local print shops.
Kevin Claucherty, Albion sophomore, works with IT on creating 3-D printers. Currently he is building the rack that holds all the supporting hardware for a second printer. Claucherty got involved with the 3-D printer just by working with IT due to his love of technology and major in physics. Claucherty goes around campus fixing machinery and appliances, which to him “aren’t super complicated that [his] supervisors would have to do if he didn’t” do the jobs. Although Claucherty isn’t thrilled about the time it takes to print a 3-D object with the machine, he’s still happy to see it making “pretty awesome things.” A couple other students on campus have been involved in working with 3D printers with the engineering club.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to use the CubePro 3D printer in the newly refurbished Ferguson Computer Lab. It can be used for personal or academic purposes, though academics will take precedent. There is a cost for printing, however, charges only cover the filament used. Dr. Brad Chase from the Anthropology and Sociology department is the first faculty member to use the new 3-D printer this school year. He will use this printer to create a Taung child skull that will be providing a hands on experience during class.
According to Robin Brubaker, director of instructional technology & media services, IT’s Mike Brinkman is the “resident 3D printing aficionado” and is available for 3D printing assistance and training.
For more information and to see a short video of the new Ferguson Computer Lab 3D printer in action, please visit Albion’s Instructional Technology web site.