POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – You can call 3-D printing the wave of the future And its come to a Tampa Bay area college, where students are learning how to prepare for that high-tech future.
Students at Polk State College in Bartow are learning how to be a part of this new form of manufacturing.
Wyatt Dube with Polk State said, “Unfortunately there is still a horrible stereotype, that this is a “Jetson’s” futuristic technology, it is not, it is very affordable, it is very accessible and it is not only open to the corporate world but to “Harry Homemaker” sitting on the couch at home.”
Charles Nixon spends a lot of time creating objects in Polk State’s 3-d lab.
The Polk State student said, “I can design something from scratch in the computer as a file and then i can send it to you across the country and you can hit a button on your printer and now you have the object that I have designed, it is a way to take things from an idea to a physical object.”
The printer slowly creates the object, layer by layer by layer.
iI can be very simple piece or a more complex item with moving parts like a prosthesis they are designing for a veteran who lost his leg.
Wyatt Dube added, “We can print it in multiple materials so it will have an elastic materials at the knee and ankle joint so it will have limited articulation at both of those areas.”
Polk State students are getting a hands on experience in this high tech way of doing things that can save manufacturers design and development costs.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Polk State instructor Chris Knapik said, “There are some companies that are creating three-d buildings, they are printing full size buildings in cement, as long as we have the width the length and the height of a particular object we can print it.”
Nasa is also looking at three-d printing as a way for astronauts on the International Space Station to make replacement parts, instead of waiting for them to be sent into space.