Science & Technology Correspondent
3D printing technology has been around for the past 30 years but only recently have many innovators been able to work with this technology because of patent expiration.
As 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, gains momentum, we are able to recognize its potential in industries such as healthcare, aviation, food, aerospace, retail, manufacturing and many more. As patents on the technology have expired, the demand for additive manufacturing has exploded throughout the world.
So far, 3D printing has been used for things ranging from making prosthetic jaws for injured people to food and equipment used in space.
The University’s Entrepreneurship Program recognizes the potential of 3D printers and the importance for students to become aware of its capabilities.
We currently have two printers using two different additive manufacturing technologies available to students on campus. Alan Brumagim, Ph.D., director of Entrepreneurial Studies, anticipates their availability to The University community to start Oct. 1.
The Entrepreneurship program had the opportunity to use the 3D printer. The process began by choosing a template on the computer, where we chose to make a bottle opener. Even though a bottle opener is relatively small, the entire process took about one hour. The 3D printer needs about 15 minutes to heat up to approximately 240 degrees Celsius. Afterward, the wire used as the “ink” was heated and melted through the tube used in the actual design of the product. Initially, the 3D printer creates an outline of your chosen design and then fills in the design, creating an overlap. The final product was finished within an hour and after it cooled, we were able to use it without any problems, and it was very durable.
The 3D printers are located in the Loyola Science Center room 164. To 3D print something yourself, head over from 5-7 p.m. on Mondays. You can also email Brumagim at email@example.com to set up a special appointment. You can either purchase products or produce them yourself.
If you decide to be guided through the simple process, you will only have to pay the cost of making your item. Specially designed products that include your name or initials can also be made.
Although the price will generally only be a few dollars, it will actually depend on the complexity of the item, how fancy you want it to be and the materials used.
At first, the 3D printers will only be making bottle openers, but in a short time, you will be able to pick from thousands of different items to make.
All of us in the entrepreneurship program look forward to getting together with you.