Drexel students bring 3-D printer to fruition | The Triangle

Drexel students bring 3-D printer to fruition

MakerBot, a 3-D printer that can create any type of 3-D image and print it from a computer-generated sketch, has taken Drexel product design students for a whirlwind. Having been established for three years, the MakerBot has helped students to turn their ideas into products that can be applied to daily uses.

Founders Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer and Zach “Hoeken” Smith engineered the MakerBot, which was originally called Cupcake, in 2009. This was a less expensive 3-D printer that could take an idea and produce virtually any object. The MakerBot store, which is located in Brooklyn, is a place where people can purchase these printers for $1,200.

Mike Glaser, program director of product design, heard about the MakerBot and found an amazing opportunity to place it in the hands of students. After providing the students with the MakerBot, they took time to set it up and then proceeded to go through a process of thinking of ideas, sketching their models, and eventually getting their hands on the MakerBot and creating their inventions. Students have started to solve life’s daily problems with their inventions. Creations can be made from a doorstop, notebook pencil holder, whistles, ashtrays and many other convenient pieces.

The goal of MakerBot is to generate human potential, rather than a commercial end, with designing products. This innovation takes people back to a traditional lifestyle where you can initiate an idea and make it yourself rather than going to a store to buy something. When the students plan out their idea, they create the 3-D model on the computer, and then the MakerBot sketches and transforms the image from the computer.

The filament spool of string quickly and futuristically crafts the product designed. The footprint for the MakerBot is 5 square feet, and anything that could fit into a box that size could be created. If there is an idea for something bigger, students can break things up into multiple parts and piece it together. Mike Glaser has assisted students in using this remarkable system.

“I think about how my life would be different if I could have had a MakerBot at the age of 11, and it makes me want to get MakerBots in the hands of kids today so that they can get access to that rush of seeing something you designed manufactured before your eyes. Having a MakerBot teaches you to iterate, and the cost is low so you can fail as many times as it takes to make it perfect,” Bre Pettis, one of the creators of MakerBot, said.

“The MakerBot used at Drexel University has 1.75 filament spools to create the 3-D figures, which usually range around $40. These filament spools vary by color, and you can even purchase glow-in-the-dark ones as well. The MakerBot is being used all over the world, from different universities to different countries, and people are taking into account that this is a new way for people to expand their creative outlets by making their own productions.

Websites such as Thingiverse.com and Tumblr have people who own or use a MakerBot. With a wide range of people who can use this machine, it is unimaginable that in a few years, people can advance into using this mindblowing robot apparatus to construct anything that comes to mind. The MakerBot is an advanced system that is a wonderful addition to the inventions in our society, which can take people’s dreams and turn them into a reality. Mike Glaser encourages anyone to check out the MakerBot located in Nesbitt and see what this wonderful new invention can create, inspiring the inventors we all can be.