I am a senior Industrial and Systems Engineering student at Youngstown State University. I am currently interning at America Makes, The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. I learned about additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, about two years ago. I fell in love with this new technology. The slogan I like to say is, “If you can think it, you can make it”. Everything is possible with additive manufacturing. I use a lot of different Computer Aided Design Software (CAD) in order to design the parts that I can 3D print. It is a fun, exciting and new technology to be a part of.
I have designed and 3D printed many things. One of the coolest objects I made was a letter to the President of the United States. I 3D printed and designed a letter to Barack Obama that was hand delivered to him for the Maker Faire in 2014. The letter was printed in Stainless Steel and there were 4 pages. The letter is now in the Presidential Archives in Washington D.C.
3D printer and CAD Software. With these two items your imagination can come to life. From rubber, plastic, metal to food, cement and human tissue the possibilities for design is open ended.
I was asked to design an award based on the relationship between a coyote and badger, which features elements of both cooperation and competition, and is reflective of the nature of America Makes membership... As I am an animal lover, this assignment offered me the chance to design an animal in 3D by scratch.
As opposed to much of my prior design work on physical parts and components, I found that the unusual and detailed design geometries required in designing an animal torso to be extremely challenging, and I was forced to restart my design several times. Animal torsos have so many dimensions and design nuances which required me to incorporate challenging design techniques such as lofting and revolving to design the curves of the coyote. This project moved me beyond working with squares and circles; I was creating a complex creature with specific form.
Creativity, design and imagination. Whether you are picking up a pencil, paint brush or mouse to the computer, if you are creating anything, you are a maker. Artists, engineers and scientists are all makers in their own ways. Maker culture is always changing as new technology is developed.
With the addition of 3D scanners and 3D printers at Youngstown State University the students on campus are excited to learn the new technology and get hands on experience. Additive manufacturing will allow art students and engineers to work together to incorporate complex art geometries into products that work.
Whether you are a scientist finding a cure to cancer or a mechanical engineer designing an eco-friendly car both of these individuals are making in order to improve the community. The growing maker community and culture depends on individuals working together and when individuals work together, they learn together, making and inventing to solve big problems of the world.
Making and new technology is sometimes scary for individuals in higher education. Many people do not like change nor creativity. It’s time for the community to take a step forward and not be afraid of the amazing opportunities possible with a Maker Community.
The 21st century is filled with technology. With the new technology of additive manufacturing, every individual has the opportunity to be a manufacturer and maker instead of just a consumer. I see the future with 3D printers in every house hold and in order for this technology to be used to its fullest all students need to be makers, designers or artists.
Do not be afraid of new technology, be excited! You have the opportunity to bring your imagination and dreams to life. No longer will you sketch on a piece of paper and throw it away now you can draw your design and have it 3D printed. There are no limits when it comes to imagination and with the new technology developing there will be no limits to what can be made. Explore and enjoy! The world is yours!