3-D printer benefits Augie students, local businesses

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Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois has made a life-sized purchase to benefit its engineering students.

According to the director of public relations, a new 3-D printer has been purchased with funds from Augustana’s Kresge Science Endowment. That money helped foot the $25,000 cost.

The printer heats-up Lego-like plastic and creates three-dimensional design. The printer could build a single 8-inch by 8-inch by six-inch part; larger parts would be cut into to pieces to later be bonded.

According to visiting assistant professor of physics, Dr. Joshua Dyer, his engineering design course will be one of the first to use the printer. Along with his class, the school plans to make the printer available to local businesses.

“Any business that wants to do rapid prototyping could make it happen with us,” said Dr. Dyer.

He said Augie students would be able to print it for them. Although printed parts are not for production purposes, Dyer explained, it would “certainly provide proof of concept, and allow analysis of design.”

Dyer said this type of technology ensures that there are no education gaps among Augustana’s engineering students.