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3D Printing In The Classroom
January 27, 2015
Based on the overwhelming response from a HARO query, we decided the best way to aggregate responses by each question, based on the responses provided.Participants are as follows, and initials corresponding to their answers are found in the parentheses. Each interview was conducted separately via email.
Dr. Joshua M. Pearce (JP), Associate Professor, Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab and Michigan Technological University.
Pearce says that they primarily use our own derivatives of open-source RepRaps—self replicating rapidprototypers that can print their own components. Their models can all be constructed for less than $500 and include the:
Additionally, they also use other open-source commercialized models which include: Lulzbot Taz, Gigabot, Type A Machines, FoldaRap and a Trinity. Among the materials used are: PLA , ABS, HDPE, other thermoplastics, composites, silicone, steel, and aluminum.
Now without further ado, here are their answers:
Question 1: What do you print?
Question 2: How satisfied are you with the quality of what it prints?
Question 3: What issues have you had with it (if any)?
Question 4: How hard was it to learn to use?
Question 5: What are your future plans as far as 3D printing is concerned?
I'm also keeping an eye on machines that can print other materials such as carbon fiber or even Kevlar. This will make printed objects much more durable in real applications. At least one model was just unveiled at CES that seems to be in a reasonable price range of a few thousand dollars.”
JP: “We have a line of solar powered RepRap 3-D printers that we are continually improving to help with sustainable development in isolated communities. We are also making great progress on the Recyclebot technology (plastic filament extruders) that can turn waste plastic into good filament effectively reducing the cost of filament to $0.10/kg from the cost of electricity for home users. Our <$1200 metal 3-D printer, which uses a welder as a print head is also improving and we hope to have a high-resolution version released under open licenses this year. We are also continually improving 3-D printable scientific equipment and designing ever more complex systems to replace even more expensive tools”.