3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional objects such as car and ship parts from a digital mold, according to the CIMP-3D website.
At the showcase, representatives from manufacturing and engineering companies displayed the latest models of 3D printers and the products they produce.
“The whole intent of the new printers is to use less materials and to make 3D printing easier and more efficient,” Robert Salo, sales manager for Sciaky Inc., said.
Manufacturing technology advances have gone through big changes in the last five years, Judith Todd, P.B. Breneman department head chair of engineering, science and mechanics, said.
“This newer, faster, more efficient manufacturing is less wasteful,” Todd added.
Besides producing less waste and being more efficient, 3D printers with new advances are becoming accessible to Penn Statestudents.
Eric Furjanic and David Saint John, teaching assistants for an EDSGN class at Penn State, displayed small 3D printers built by students in the class they teach.
Saint John said the class, EDSGN 497D (Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Project), was created to help students bring their ideas to life and also to make the printers available for engineering students.
“We help out students who need to make models for classes by making our 3D printers available to them for free, as opposed to paying a lot of money to have their models made by companies,” Saint John said.
There are nine student-built 3D printers available in room 312 of the Hammond Building , according to EDSGN’s website.
Furjanic and Saint John had iPhone cases and plastic toys on display to show what their printers are capable of making.
“It would be great to build a lab of these 3D printers to be made available to more students,” Saint John added.
In addition to educational purposes, 3D printers are utilized to produce materials for the military and aerospace industries, Ken Meinert, facility manager at the CIMP-3D at Penn State, said.
Meinert said the 3D printers are becoming more advanced, creating materials that will last longer than they have before. CIMP-3D’s mission is to extend and advance additive manufacturing technologies, according to the center’s website.