How Universities are Using Additive Manufacturing

By TriMech on

Additive manufacturing continues to be an asset in developing products in many industries due to the quick turnaround for creating prototypes which saves both time and money. Universities are also using additive manufacturing in the classroom to better prepare students for their future careers. We’ve looked at several schools and institutions that are using this technology to create a culture of innovation and accountability where students can explore their design solutions through trial and error with physical prototypes to test. 

Cornell University

Cornell Dimension 3D modelCornell has a very large Mechanical Engineering program. Their museum of kinetic mechanisms houses hundreds of historical machines from the 19th century. They wanted to reproduce these models and provide public digital files so that anyone with a 3D printer is able to download and 3D print their own fully-functioning physical model. They have incorporated these into their curriculum to better the original design.

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West Virginia Institution of Technology

Capitol 3D printed modelThis institute wanted to build a tabletop model of the capitol for local police to aide in placing security during large events in the most efficient way possible. Students worked on this model using items like foam, wood and illustration board for about one and a half years. They then received a Dimension 3D printer and decided to design and 3D print the model of the capitol. They wrapped up the project in about six months with 3D printing. 

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University of Applied Sciences Ravensburg-Weingarten

UAS 3D printed model scooterUAS was tasked with creating a first-of-its kind self-balancing scooter for a state-driven research project. They mainly wanted to create and optimize an executable design process for customized products. As anyone can imagine, the frame was the biggest challenge as well as production times. They used two different printers to create the multiple parts with various materials that ensure the safe use of electronics with heat resistant thermoplastics, such as Nylon 6, to develop these scooters.

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Purdue University

Purdue Surgical 3D printed modelPurdue used a PolyJet 3D printer to create custom surgical equipment. The students were very enthusiastic to move from a 2D laser technique to a more hands-on approach. They also used inspiration from nature to design structures that can offer flexibility as well as strength in a new way. They chose to use PolyJet due to its ability to print in multiple colors, realistic prototypes and offer flexibility.


These schools are utilizing 3D printing to develop innovative solutions and engage their students. For more details on these examples as well as some of the latest 3D printable material advancements,  watch our on-demand webinar, TriMech Solutions for Education.


Ready to learn how other institutions are incorporating 3D printers? Download our free 3D Printing for Higher-Education Kit.