We regularly hold student 3D printing contests together with universities and colleges. These contests are way for us to engage students on Shapeways. The animation, product design or engineering students learn how to design for 3D printing and have a fun assignment that might result in them having a 3D print made. Usually the professor picks a regular in class assignment and tells the students that they can upload to Shapeways and that the best design will then get their model 3D printed. We hope it is a "everybody wins" scenario. We did one of the most recent contests with the Pennsylvania College of Technology's Manufacturing Engineering Technology department and their MET460 Rapid Prototyping class.
We asked professor Eric Albert, who taught the class, how the contest went & more about what seems to be a future ready college course.
Joris Peels: what kind of people were in the class?
Eric Albert: Our class consisted of 26 undergraduates who were seniors in one of two four year degrees: Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Computer Aided Product Design
Joris Peels: What do they use to 3D model?
Eric Albert: We use either AutoDesk Inventor, SolidWorks, or ProE. We are fortunate to have well equipped labs and students become proficient on each of these.
Joris Peels: What was the assignment?
Eric Albert: Their assignment was to create a useful product that fit the Shapeways site in terms of manufacturability by rapid prototype machines, cost effectiveness, and overall product offerings meeting the terms of the site. The students presented each product as part of their final examination session, and the final determination was made by the class as a whole.
Joris Peels: What course was it for?
Eric Albert: The course is called MET460 Rapid Prototyping, which is a required course of our Manufacturing Engineering Technology students, and a technical elective for the Computer Aided Product Design students. This class covers the entire field of rapid prototyping, including even building a RepRap Mendel and a Makerbot this semester. The overall goal is to have students know and effectively use the technology in their fields.
Joris Peels: Why 3D printing? & Why Shapeways?
Eric Albert: The ideas of zero inventory, just in time manufacturing are taught here but to actually create a product and display it for sale is a unique learning opportunity afforded by Shapeways. We are a “hands on” style college and this was a great means to put theory into practice.
Besides an easy user experience and set up, something that Shapeways offers is working within a global view of product design and sales. The assignment was well received and the process went very smoothly.
If you want your college to do a contest with Shapeways then email joris (at) shapeways (dot) com.