Club brings 3-D printing to U. community


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Photo by Alex Van Dreisen |

The 3-D printing lab, located at 35 Berrue Circle, came to the Livingston campus last November. The introduction of the printers has spurred do-it-yourself movements, such as the Rutgers Makerspace Club and a Byrne Seminar focusing on the 3-D printing process.


Along with new apartments, new businesses and new buildings, Livingston campus has acquired new technology for modeling and creating objects — using only a printer.

The Rutgers Makerspace club, formerly known as the 3-D Printing Club meets every Tuesday evening at 35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway on the Livingston campus. Together they scan 2-D models and print them as 3-D objects.

This 3-D printer grants students access to modern technology Rutgers has never had before.

The lab became part of the Livingston campus last November, and the Rutgers Makerspace Club has used it ever since, said Rick Anderson, the club advisor.

Jose Sanchez, an assistant professor, teaches a Byrne seminar titled “Makerspace and 3-D Printing: The New DIY.” According to the Byrne Seminar website, the printers can be used in architecture, fashion, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, civil engineering and many others.

Twenty-five students enrolled in his Byrne seminar, Anderson said, although they only have three printers so far.

Anderson, who is also the director of Virtual Worlds in Rutgers’ Division of Continuing Studies, said this was the first year a course on operating 3-D printers has been offered.

“3-D printers have been around a long time, but have not always been accessible,” he said. “They used to be privately owned machines, costing up to $2,500 if not more. Now there are 3-D printers that are ‘bought simple,’ which you can build yourself for $300.”

Anderson originally made the initiative to get 3-D printers for the Rutgers community. He said he wanted to give students the opportunity to imagine projects and make them realities.

Although Anderson oversees the Byrne Seminar’s meetings, he plans on teaching all the members of the club how to operate the printers on their own so they will not need supervision.

“It is a student organization, and I am working toward it to be entirely student run,” he said.

The 3-D printers can be used to print nearly anything that can be scanned, said Stephen Carter, co-director of the club.

“We have students printing iPhone cases and ordering latches for microwave ovens off the Internet, and printing them right here in the lab,” said Carter, director of Rutgers Innovation Education.

Students use printers for school projects, shaper gear research projects and gear prototypes, he said.

With Anderson’s assistance, Rutgers seniors have begun a Capstone project. In teams of five to seven, the students create, build and present an idea.

Carter said these 3-D printers are the beginning of the do-it-yourself movement for students.

Member Amy Chen said the club changed its name to reflect the growth of the organization.

“[The club] incorporates the new things we are expecting to bring into our space,” said Chen, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

Anderson said he was passionate about the new printers, and wants to make further additions to the lab, such as more electronic tools and a laser cutter.

Anderson said these technological advancements are ongoing, and people have a lot more to learn about using 3-D printing technology.

He said he is available on Friday afternoon for community time, where students can stop by the lab and learn more about the new printers.


By Erin Walsh

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