Julie Reece says 3D printers are on their way to becoming just as important as computers in higher education.
She says this because 3D printers are popping up in college classrooms across the country, and becoming more accessible to college students.
Reece, Director of Marketing for Mcor says 3D printers are even becoming a desired skill in the real world, especially when students are job-hunting.
“Now it’s so popular, so pervasive in many different kinds of professions that it’s almost a requirement for schools at all levels to have a 3D printer or tools of 3D printers,” she says. “It’s important for students to know that so when they go out and get into their jobs, they know how to make those kinds of decisions to choose the right tool for their applications.”
Aside from preparing students for the real world, Reece says 3D printing enables colleges to promote a green environment on campus, and to keep some green in their pockets.
An example of this is the paper-based 3D printer, which uses regular 8 ½ x 11 office paper to print models.
Reece also says that paper-based 3D printer works with nontoxic, biodegradable paper materials, and that any unused scraps can go right in the school’s recycle bins.
Plus, she says the cost of a paper-printed model is cheap enough so schools don’t have to charge students for materials.
“The on-going cost is ten to 20 percent of any other printer to run,” she says. “The cost of the model is only about 50 cents per cubic inch to print, so it’s really cheap. Most schools have to charge their students with materials, but with [3D] printers, you don’t have to.”
Reece says 3D printers are worth the investment no matter what material they are based on because they can be used for any and every application in higher education.
“There’s a host of numerous applications in a school,” she says. “We’re seeing a lot of traction for architectural modeling because it saves time and money and accuracy when you can 3D print a model in full color versus hand crafting it. You print almost virtually anything, from something mundane as a door knob to something more complex…Really, the sky is the limit.”