3D printing company MakerBot and St. John’s University in New York City have opened a new MakerBot Innovation Center, marking the second center of its kind in the state of New York. The facility offers students the resources and equipment needed to design, create and innovate with 3D printing.
The new MakerBot Innovation Center—the first at a university in NYC—is located at St. John’s University Technology Common at its main campus in Queens. Interestingly, the center is co-located with the university’s new e-sports environment and virtual reality pods, resulting in a high-tech, interactive hub for students.
St. John’s students will have access to over 20 MakerBot 3D printers, as well as supporting materials and software, and are encouraged to leverage the center in a range of research areas. The center, along with the broader St. John’s University Technology Commons, also aims to promote interdisciplinary projects.
“3D printing in academia has become increasingly widespread as more schools look to combine new technologies into their curriculum to better prepare their students for the workforce,” commented Nadav Goshen, CEO of MakerBot. “St. John’s University is at the forefront of creativity. Its adoption of 3D printing with a MakerBot Innovation Center provides students a competitive edge that will enable them to excel in their careers.”
The center will be supported by a number of courses at St. John’s University that integrate 3D printing into their curricula, including Art & Design, Marketing, Foreign Language, Education and Physiology. The university is also reportedly planning to offer classes specifically dealing with additive manufacturing and DfAM, as well as an elective in 3D printing and 3D modeling.
“Before the introduction of 3D modeling in Art 1090 Jewelry design, student designs were limited by the physical properties of the materials used,” said Ross Barbera, Associate Professor of Art and Design at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “With the introduction of 3D printing, the students’ creative potential has been greatly enhanced.
“Modeling in TinkerCad and Fusion 360, then printing at the Innovation Center with MakerBot printers, provides students with powerful tools enabling them to exercise their creative imaginations to the fullest. With these new technological tools, students are now exploring design possibilities not possible with traditional materials and methods, are limited only to the extent that they can imagine.”
Dr. Sandra Schamroth Abrams, Associate Professor in the School of Education, added: “3D printing can complement and enhance process-learning that includes iterative and flexible practices. St. John’s students who visit the Technology Commons engage in individual and collaborative explorations and discover expansive possibilities of creative challenge.”
MakerBot also has Innovation Centers at a number of other schools, including the University of Maryland, Central Michigan University, the University of North Georgia and others.