If you were looking for confirmation that 3D printing -- sometimes used synonymously with rapid prototyping -- is here to stay, here's further evidence:
NYU now offers a course on the topic that results in students receiving a certificate.
According to the university's course description:
Rapid Prototyping is a certificate geared to familiarize students with digital tools and techniques relevant to the task of visualizing and prototyping 3D designs. Focusing on products and sculpture as the primary area of application, students will be taken through a series of hands-on class exercises supported with specialized video tutorials in order to become comfortable with the process of realizing their designs digitally.
Upon completion of the course, students will know how to take a concept and execute it into a successful 3D model using tools like Maxon's Cinema 4D, Autodesk's Mudbox, and Pixelogic's ZBrush software. At the end of the class, students will create professional 3D product visualizations and physical prototype models of their designs created with a 3D printer.
Some further investigation shows NYU as a pioneer in this field. A quick search showed that a few other reputable colleges offer similar courses. Clearly, 3D printing, and the expertise that's required to make it successful, are making inroads into the design engineering community.
If there isn't already a waiting list for this course, there should be. I would have killed to take this class when I was in college, but, alas, email was just creeping on campus during my sophomore year.
Yes, this would be a great course to take. I'd like to take it now. As for technology when I was in college, we were doing punch cards. Just when I got out of college, the Apple II and the IBM PC showed up.
Jennifer and Rob, When I was majoring in chemistry in college in 1969, we had to wait in line to use a new computer that read out our answers in Nixie tubes. It cost $5k - twice the cost of a car in those days, and it did what a scientific calculator on the store shelf hooks does today. But seriously, why did it take so long to develop 3D printing? Why so long from the Moog synthesizer to voice recognition? If I had been less lazy... The great thing about this class is that you could take just that one class and start a business. Of course you would have to stay ahead of technology. I recall that Wang Corporation thought word processing was the end of the journey.
I, too, used punch cards in college, Rob. I would drop off my stack of cards to run my finite element models at the computer lab and come back the next day to pick up my printouts. Obviously, the idea of 3D printing wasn't even in the back of anyone's mind at that point. These days, colleges have to be quicker in offering new kinds of courses because the technology is moving so much faster today than it was in the punch card days.
Richard, it's nice to know that NYU is offering a course in 3D printing. Some of the universities are very keen and fast to include the very latest technologies in their syllabus and starting certificate courses. I hope other universities will also follow similar models.
Richard, great article btw. I am glad to hear they are teaching this. It is here to stay for sure and it is the future of prototyping. For them not to teach it would be a disservice IMO. The technology is cheap enough now for all universities to offer such programs. Thnaks for the article.
Charles, I totally agree. In this day and age...if you are not on top of the technology, then you are behind it. You can't wait a year or two to get it, by then it's too late. It is almost so bad that you can't learn it fast enough. By the time you go through a year of college, what you learned is out of date. Crazy stuff.
I'm glad to hear about this too--thanks, Rich. It makes sense that some of the first AM courses in US colleges would be about prototyping, not more complex production parts made with metals. Although Optomec's smaller metals printer, which we wrote about here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=264842 is specifically aimed at university mechanical engineering and materials science programs.
Charles , you are absolutely correct the way 3D technology is spreading every university should offer 3D printing courses with practical hands on experience to the students so that every student become familiar with this technology as 3D printing is the future technology every student should have knowledge about that . More institutes should offer this course in order to make the students well informed .
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