Northern Kentucky University has a new piece of technology that
will help students studying art as well as engineering. A new 3D printer is revolutionizing the way objects are
Tech Bar manager Wayde Shanks says the printer's applications are only
limited by the users imagination.
"If you can design it. It can print
it," said Shanks.
He says the 3D printer can help students in a variety of
"Hopefully it will allow students to create some interesting art
work. Any student that's in our Pre-Engineering program can use it to test
their designs, and biology students or chemistry students can use it to
investigate body organs, parts, things like that... Molecules for chemistry," he explained.
Shanks says designs are created using a special software, and the printer makes the object using a plastic filament that looks a lot like the
filament on a weed eater.
"The filament is pulled up through the back of
the machine and heated through these extruders, and as the filament melts it
just gradually builds on itself."
Small objects like a nut and bolt take about 30 minutes, while
larger objects like a life-sized fist take about six hours. The 3D printer can make the process of designing objects a lot more efficient.
"With 3D printing on a much, much cheaper scale, you're able to create a
particular design and determine whether or not it will be functional or would
suit your needs without a major investment."
The printer is now in its testing phase, but it's hoped that by
the fall, they'll have a good idea of what works and what doesn't.