Education is a pillar that not only keeps our society up but allows it to grow. School as a whole is meant to prepare students for the real world.
Classes and the educational professionals teaching said curriculum are meant to impart that knowledge to the students so that they have the skills to take on the field they choose to move into.
What separates a school and university from just learning from a single person or online, however is that these established institutions have access to facilities and resources. When looking to work in 3D printing or additive manufacturing, there are schools that are unparalleled in their ability to prepare students for the field and this is how they do that.
State of the art facilities
Places like Cornell University or MIT have access to 3d printing labs that may vary in the kinds of materials or printers they use. Each shop can have 3D printers that have special properties and uses that a more budget-friendly printer cannot perform. Printers like a J850 can be used to print hyper realistic medical models. A Fortus 450mc has the ability to print parts using carbon fiber.
Even if you are not looking to use a 3D printer, traditional manufacturing machines like a laser cutter or CNC can be hard to come by and all of these machines are complicated in their own way which require instruction on how to use and maintain. Working with other students within a school shop is also not too different from working with other professional engineers and designers when in a company.
Organization and understanding of deadlines
When you are a student, completing homework and other assignments are key to ensuring mastery of the content being taught. Students within a university are taught or at least learn for themselves methods to stay on track with all the work they are given. Within a school printing lab, if you are a student volunteer, you may have to keep track of multiple jobs, parts, and overall usage of the 3D printers.
If you are a large university like Virginia Tech, there are students in and out of the shop all the time placing orders and requests from potentially various departments. They use work order management software to keep track of all assets and jobs within their shop. Most organizations in the real world who use 3D printers also have some form of work order management software that they use. Having some familiarity with such software can make you invaluable to any 3D print shop.
Join us NEXT WEEK for an upcoming webinar when a VA Tech lab teacher and one of his students talk about how GrabCAD Shop has transformed their AOE lab. RSVP today!
Instilling professional and efficient communication
The ability to effectively communicate is one of the greatest tools a person can have in their entire life. When you are working with another person or even an organization as a whole, communication is what allows objectives and goals to be achieved. Managing a 3d Print shop's assets and jobs are one thing, but being able to satisfy the needs of a person requesting a part or clearing up misunderstandings can separate you from being a standard student or employee to being a true taskmaster and professional.
Once again certain work order management software like GrabCAD Shop can address the management of said jobs but also greatly simplify the lines of communication. This tool becomes invaluable in the real world when your fellow designers or other companies are communicating back and forth with you. Instead of having emails and other potential details lost when having to interact with so many people, work order management software can keep everything clean and simple.
The ultimate training ground
There are many parallels between learning within an educational institute and working a real job. The amount of work may vary from place to place but having the environment to learn and grow in like a university can give you everything you need for working in the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry. Having industry professionals and access to these advanced technologies and software is one half of the equation. The other half is having the fundamentals of good communication skills, organizational habits, and good old fashioned hard work which can help set you up for success wherever you go.