A Whole New World: 3D Printing


3d bear image3D Printing is a whole new world to many of us, including myself. 3D printing has been around since the early 1980’s, however it is now coming to light as the technology is advancing and more affordable 3D printers are being released to consumers. You can now print anything from metals, stone, and food, ceramic, plastic, and even living cells. The possibilities are endless.

From the first time I learned about the existence of 3D printing, about a year ago, I was immediately fascinated by the technology and desired to know more, so when I found out that Baruch was going to offer a course on 3D printing, I signed up right away.

The course, Special Topics in Management: Business Meets 3D Digital Design and Fabrication is taught here at Baruch College by Monica Dean, the Administrative Director of the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship and by full-time lecturer and Field Mentor, Allison Lehr Samuels. In this course, we study both the business and the creative design aspects of 3D printing with the help of Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, an Associate Professor of Art at Baruch. My favorite part about this course is that it is hands-on. SketchUp Make is a free 3D printing software, which allows you to create your own 3D designs that can be printed on the Field Center’s very own Maker Bot printer. There are many free 3D software options available but this software was chosen for our course because of its ease of use.

As class assignments, we have designed basic shapes, doorknobs, words, vases, rings, and cookie cutters (my bear cookie cutter to the top right) to advance our design skills. One assignment in particular had our class researching the coffee industry.  We examined some of the problems we have observed in the industry, reviewed the needs that resulted from these issues, and brainstormed about possible solutions that could be implemented by using 3D printing technology.

Back in October, some of my classmates and I attended Maker Faire NYC, which was full of innovative 3D designs, fun activities, educational workshops and lectures.  Check out the Maker Faire website to see footage of some of the talks in case you missed it. Presenters included NASA’s Chief Technologist, Bre Pettis, who is the Founder and CEO of Maker Bot, a Principle Research Scientist at Disney, and Senator Kristen Gillibrand to name a few. Overall, Maker Faire was mind-blowing.

As a part of the course experience, we visited the Maker Bot store here in New York City where we got to see some of the latest 3D designs. The highlight of this visit was the newly released Maker Bot Digitizer Desktop Scanner. I have never seen anything like it. It allows you to take physical objects, scan them and then turn them into 3D models to be edited, shared or printed.

What amazes me most is that this 3D world is just beginning to develop. I can only begin to imagine how it will transform in the next few years and forever change the world as we know it.

Maker Faire 2013 image














Jarlyne Batista, Field Fellow, Field Center