Owensboro Community & Technical College (OCTC) was looking to extend its CAD and Machine Tool program and curriculum by incorporating technology that would allow students to create functional 3D models. OCTC recently acquired the Dimension 3D Printer, a tool that is helping students gain a new, critical area of expertise and powerful, real-world experience.
Using Dimension in conjunction with 3D solid CAD, students are able to generate 3D functional models that they can use to evaluate designs, test functionality and most importantly, add to their design portfolios. In the future, the CAD Department at OCTC may offer 3D printing as part of its certificate programs, which would be a credential students can add to their resumes.
Recently, OCTC was called upon to create a machine part for an international aluminum casting and forging company that produces structural automobile parts. The part was a protection cap for a portable coordinate measuring machine that was no longer available from the manufacturer. Without the protective cap keeping dust, moisture and moving objects from damaging wires, the machine was functioning at high risk. OCTC CAD students designed the cap by measuring and evaluating an existing working cap. Forty minutes later, using the Dimension 3D Printer, OCTC students generated a sturdy cap model made with ABS plastic.
Today, OCTC is developing a fee schedule for solid model services, which will generate revenue and ultimately help in the college's long-term goal of building a full-time 3D printing center.
Steve Bailes, Owensboro College's manufacturing division chair and associate professor of computer-aided drafting notes, "We plan to use the Dimension 3D Printer as a recruitment tool at technical college marketing events by showing a video of the product design and development, then letting people touch and feel the parts made."