Dow Digital Science Center

3D Printing

Are you interested in acquiring a 3D printer for your classroom? Think it’s out of reach? The Dow Digital Science Center is here to help!

3D printing is not a new concept but just recently has the technology become cost effective enough to make it widely available. The Dow Digital Science Center is proud to present the option of using 3D printers at Alma College.

The 3D Printing Revolution

If you do a Web search for 3D printing, you’ll notice that its uses are growing exponentially. One reason for this growth is that manufacturers are increasingly relying on 3D printing to make prototypes and parts for large industries. For example, the automotive industry has used 3D printing technology for many years for rapid prototyping of new auto part designs. The picture above shows a manifold prototype created by the Piedmont Triad Center for Advanced Manufacturing (PTCAM).

Another reason 3D printing is growing is because innovative professionals outside of large industrial manufacturing have found ways to use it in their own fields. For example, Bespoke Prosthetics in San Francisco, CA, is using 3D printing to create unique prosthetic limb coverings. They’re also experimenting with 3D printing as a way to produce entire limbs that are much cheaper than conventional prosthetic and are even dishwasher-safe. Similarly, Walter Reed Army Medical Center has used 3D printing to produce models that surgeons can use as a guide for facial reconstructive surgery.