How 3D Printing in Higher Education Delivers Value

3D printing in higher education is an exciting way to engage learners and expose them to one of the biggest revolutions in manufacturing.

Colleges and universities that introduce 3D printers generate a lot of buzz with students and teachers. The technology is interesting, but it is also accessible, with a small learning curve that makes it easy to understand and use.

This article looks at why 3D printing in higher education is worth it, so you can decide if it is right for your educational institution. 

3D printing is cheaper than ever

3D printing has a lower cost to entry than ever, with FFF (filament-based) and SLA (resin-based) printers dropping in price by around 30% in the last decade.

Ultimaker-desktop-3D-printing

In addition, the operating complexity of machines has decreased, so less extensive (and expensive) training is required to bring staff up to speed.

Another shift in the industry has been towards open filament systems, where you can use cheaper third-party filaments in FFF machines. Again, this unlocks cost savings, lowering the total investment cost over the printer’s lifetime.

3D printing empowers students 

3D printing asks students to turn their ideas into physical objects. It empowers students to tinker, create, analyse, and study topics related to design, engineering and manufacturing from software to hardware.

Students who are bored by lectures and presentations might find 3D printing utterly enthralling. Students who learn visually and in a tactile way will appreciate seeing things come to life. It is very hard for 3D printing to be boring!

3D printing facilitates real-world understanding

3D printing can enable a broad range of activities, from model building to electronics assembly. Teachers can also use 3D printing to print models for class, demonstrating how different geometries and shapes work.

Student

The reality is that telling students how things work is not as effective as demonstrating how things work, which is what 3D printing enables.

For example, at the Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey, 3D printing teeth models enables remote dentistry education. And at Saint Xavier University, 3D printing is used to make models of the biochemical molecules.

3D printing prepares future designers and engineers

Think of all the students who want to be designers or engineers, and then add all those who don’t know it yet. 3D printing has the uncanny ability to unlock passion in design and engineering, fuelling future stars.

Collaborate 3d printing

The growth of 3D printing is fuelling the demand for 3D design and modelling skills. Ultimately, future engineers and designers will incorporate 3D workflows of some kind, be them in the physical world of plastics or the virtual world of code.

Overall, 3D printing has the potential to captivate, engage, and empower students like no other technology before it. It straddles the line between software and hardware, and it gives students and teachers a physical product at the end of it.

 

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