| 3-D Technology Gives BC a New Dimension
Berea College is broadening its technological horizons with the new state-of-the-art 3-D printer and scanner.
Useful new technology at BC
Purchased with two grants obtained through proposals by two Berea College professors, the 3-D scanner and printer are the two newest additions to the Technology Department. The 3-D printer is able to print objects with maximum dimensions of 8 x 8 x 12 inches. The 3-D scanner is able to scan an 8 foot figure using a laser and a computer program for accuracy, allowing for the mapping of many diverse objects. Though the printer is not capable of copying an object that large, the project may be done in smaller pieces which are easy to piece together.
The 3-D printer builds accurate models layer by layer using durable ABS plastic, allowing users to not only evaluate design concepts, but test 3-D prints for functionality, form and fit. During the printing process, the wire used to cut the plastic cleans itself after each layer in order to be as accurate as possible. A single chess pawn piece about the size of a Hershey's kiss takes more than 50 minutes to be printed, but the results are well worth the wait.
BC is currently using the new machinery as a teaching tool, which Gary Mahoney asserts is beneficial. "From the educational perspective, you can print the component out and see how to draw the model. Once they see it, it's like, 'Oh, I see that now!' "
An interesting project currently in the works is to recreate a missing angel in the Danforth Chapel. Future possibilities for the 3-D printer and scanner here on campus include using the machines in engineering classes to copy parts for machinery that may be reproduced and reused. The printer and scanner will also be used to create models that may be used as a 3-D blueprint for bigger projects.