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Learning Manufacturing

From Dinosaur Bones to Cookies, 3D Printing Expands in Colleges

Colleges are finding more uses for 3D printing, from art students creating sculptures of futuristic animals, to engineering students developing zero gravity fuel storage, to biology professors replicating dinosaur bones. All disciplines have the potential to benefit from 3D printing, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, especially as the technology becomes more sophisticated and less expensive. Many professors are supporters of controversial open-source 3D printers, an affordable do-it-yourself approach where printers are designed from online instructions based on expired patents. Despite impending patent disputes, proponents see open-source 3D printers as a way to bring the technology to the masses, offer more experimentation in the classroom, and attract younger students to STEM fields. One university class even printed 8,000 edible cookies for visiting high-school students—a huge hit for the potential engineers of the future.

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