OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
3D printing in the field of education has been in the news for some time now, particularly in institutions of higher education, as they offer the perfect testing ground for expanding R&D in this industry.
There is already a scattering of schools globally that are either experimenting with holding 3D-printing workshops/exhibitions or—with the backing of leaders in the 3D-printing industry itself—just starting to establish more permanent programs and facilities centered around this technology.
Leading the pack, and boasting yet another “world’s first,” is China’s Baiyun Winbo 3D Printing Technology College in Guangzhou—a city located in the heart of one of China’s top manufacturing regions. This is a corporate college and is funded in part by Winbo Industries, which is one of the largest 3D-printer and materials manufacturers in China.
There are currently five “sections” to the school—a printing center, a design center, an exhibition area, a study area, and training facilities. All of which allow students hands-on opportunities to learn about the printers and related software.
3dforged reports that according to the college’s spokesperson, “3D-printing technology has become the most popular emerging industry.” Adding that, “Students can innovate and design their own works. This joint effort will better serve the cultivation of students’ ability and quality, and could change the traditional teaching mode.”
Whether or not colleges like this thrive or remain just some sort of “stunt” for large companies to garner some additional exposure and recruit skilled workers is yet to be seen. Regardless, access to this technology on a wider scale allows people to more actively conduct research, engage in the creative process, and bring ideas to life more on their own terms. One can almost envision a new generation of capable hands-on inventors and innovators among those who immerse themselves in this technology from a young age.
Outside of the classroom, those who wish to get involved can do so more readily than ever. Obviously, as with inkjet printers and computers in general, the prices for desktop 3D printers will continue to go down while (in theory) performance continues to improve. Soon enough, 3D printers will become as ubiquitous as the other devices we have come to rely on.