New 3D Printer Helps Students ‘See the Fruits of their Labor’

South+campus%27s+Ultimaker+arrived+at+the+Flickinger+Fine+Arts+Center+Aug.+21.+

Holly Galvan/San Jacinto Times

South campus's Ultimaker arrived at the Flickinger Fine Arts Center Aug. 21.

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Creative art and technological innovation seamlessly came together Aug. 21 when the fine arts department of San Jacinto College South Campus acquired a new 3D printer.

Additive manufacturing, as 3D printing is also known, “is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file,” according to 3Dprinting.com.

Denton Davies, Facility Events Coordinator at the South campus, said the 3D printers are meant to help students “see the fruits of their labor.”

“Things such as prototypes for an artist’s 3D sculpture, props for theatrical productions, mock-ups of scenery” are items the printer can produce that will help students with their education, Davies added.

However, new technology often brings about new maintenance problems. According to Davis, each print faces different challenges ranging from “environmental factors (room temp) to the quirks of individual filaments and printing nozzle temperatures.”

Nathanial Wiggins, professor of math and engineering at the North campus, recalled a problem with one of their printers. “We recently had a heater coil malfunction, causing the printer to go down for a few weeks,” he said.

Furthermore, Wiggins added, the printers on the three campuses serve a limited number of departments and more are necessary to address the particular needs of different programs.

“I would like to create robotics and technology while the graphic design programs are interested in products for oil and gas,” Wiggins said.

Meanwhile, Davies said 3D printing is not something only San Jac students can benefit from but something that will impact the surrounding community.

“Being able to see the small things created by students now could open up the doors of imagination,” he said. “Broadening student education is how the San Jac Community is benefited.”