3D Printing Technology is Changing the Future of College Education
3D Platform’s Market Development Manager, Mark Huebner recently visited the Middlesex University in London and checked out how 3D printing technology and their large format 3D printer is reshaping the future of university classrooms. Read Mark’s field notes below and find out how Middlesex University is leading additive manufacturing education. The excitement and contagious energy you experience when visiting an environment truly dedicated to creativity is almost electric. Such was my recent experience visiting Middlesex University in London. What made it personally exciting for 3DP is the way that they are embracing additive manufacturing and 3D printing. They’ve installed a 3D Platform printer in their 3D Digital Manufacture Lab, and it is bringing together specific disciplines and areas of study that normally would never interact. The large format fused filament 3D printing technology is going beyond opening doors of opportunity and is inspiring the students and technicians to entirely new ideas.
“We love to develop skills and make things, but with 3D printing we want to go beyond creating. We want to be developing things and processes that are completely disruptive,” said Howard Taylor, Technical Manager at Middlesex.This was apparent during my visit, as we were joined in the 3D Digital Manufacture Lab by Julie Bird, the head of the woven textiles department. She was there exploring ways to incorporate the 3D printing processes into fabric and fashion design. We also visited animators who were utilizing Cinema 4D and similar software to create characters for video production. Their normal practice would keep them locked into a virtual world inside a computer. But joining with the camera technicians and story developers, they were exploring ways to use the 3DP 3D Printer for character development and set design, leading ultimately to printing objects and even various facial expressions for use in stop-motion video production.
“Our goal is not to be limited to the traditional, but to look into the future … go outside of the box if you will … and bring that future into the present,” said Professor Paul Haywood, Deputy Dean of Middlesex University.I also spent some time with Andrew McDowall, the 3D Digital Manufacturing Technician, who has had considerable hands-on time operating the 3DP large format 3D printer. “It’s a very straightforward process for me utilizing the Autodesk tools to manipulate digital images or CAD data, bring them into Simplify3D for slicing and G-code generation, and then to get them running on the printer. They all work together, and providing the physical output, the 3D Platform printer has become an essential piece of our workflow.” The 3DP printer is an important ingredient, combined with the energy and inspiration of the people at Middlesex University, in creating a program that goes beyond simply educating students about 3D printing and how to use it, to pushing the limits of possibilities.