In a bid to transform and revamp their CAD course and Technical Drawing courses, ETH Zurich (The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) has acquired several Stratasys’ uPrint SE Plus 3D printers. Head of Engineering Design and Computing Laboratory, Dr. Kristina Shea explained the rationale behind the decision, stating that, “The course has between 450-500 students, so reliability was essential and a big part of our decision to invest in a professional 3D printer. We had previously relied on CAD and modeling on a screen, but using high-quality, functional physical models ensures students are far more engaged.”
As such, the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer was selected due to its ability to produce high quality parts and models that are practical and dependable. It also fulfills the accuracy requirements for student projects as it is able to print layers of up to 0.330mm and 0.254mm in thickness. In addition, the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D Printer is able to print in Engineering Grade thermoplastic, such as the Ivory ABSplus which is frequently used by the students at ETH Zurich. Being a strong and durable material, the ivory ABSplus is often used in prototypes, hence making it the perfect choice of material in various assignments.
Upon obtaining the numerous Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printers, ETH Zurich Engineering undergraduates have enjoyed benefits such as changes in course syllabus and reduced production time for their prototypes. One example would be the project where students were required to build a personalized balloon powered car model.
According to Dr.Shea, through the aid of 3D Printing technology, students were able to customize and test out the designs of car roofs and wheel spokes. Taking the complexity of the project into account, it was crucial that ETH Zurich had invested in a reliable 3D printer that would allow for the smooth printing process for all nine components of the car. Aside from that, Dr.Shea also commented on how 3D printing affected students’ motivation: “With 3D printing, we saw increased motivation in learning to use the CAD software. The appreciation of scale and the importance of production tolerances grew when the customized parts the students had designed were 3D printed and assembled. Even though design manufacturing guidelines were provided, there were marked increases in understanding as a result of the material realization of their designs.”
As technology continues to progress, the knowledge and skills that are needed at the workplace are increasing. Hence, it is important to equip students with the necessary skill set that will allow them to do their jobs effectively. As a believer of this notion, Sig Behren, Stratasys’s General Manager for Global Education, said: “The ability to access and familiarize students with professional 3D printing technology is incredibly important, because these are tomorrow’s designers and engineers With its desire to embrace 3D printing, ETH Zurich is bridging the gap between academia and industry by fulfilling the demand for skills that employers are seeking.”
A bright future lies ahead for the future designers and engineers from ETH Zurich and it is with bated breath that we await the countless possibilities that they can achieve with 3D Printing Technology.
*Original article can be found here at 3dprintingindustry
**Pictures are credit to ETH Zurich and 3dprintingindustry