At this relatively early stage in the development and implementation of 3D printing, the potential of digital design technology and the creative capacity it grants its users seem almost limitless. In art, industry, medicine and education, the tools of additive manufacturing are making possible things that have long appeared beyond reach.
This month, hundreds of leaders from these and other disciplines and professions gathered at the first annual ANYthing Conference, hosted by the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) at SUNY New Paltz, and carried forward the conversation about what the future of 3D printing holds.
“The increasing breadth of applications in manufacturing, art, medicine, education and many other areas, the almost daily release of new materials and the constant flow of innovative new printers have all resulted in a staggering amount of change,” said Daniel Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering and director of the HVAMC. “
The truly inclusive conference featured all types of exhibitions: keynote addresses from engineers, manufacturers, artists and academics; panel discussions and group workshops; and an expo featuring poster presentations of student and faculty research.
Each in their own way, the different events on the conference schedule contributed thoughtful discourse about what the current state of 3D printing suggests for its future uses at the intersection of creativity and industry.
“When you expose someone to a new tool, whether it’s a CAD system, additive manufacturing, whatever it may be, that has the potential to spontaneously fire something in the brain and inspire a creative response,” said William Carter, mechanical engineer with GE Global Research during a panel talk about preparing the next generation of 3D makers. “So I think our goal should be to expose students to the widest range of tools possible, and watch what kinds of creativity happen.”
About New Paltz’s 3D Printing Initiative
Since launching the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center in spring 2013, the College’s effort to fuse learning and manufacturing, science and the arts has continued to gain momentum. In February 2014, the College partnered with Brooklyn, N.Y.-based MakerBot, the leading manufacturer of desktop 3D printers, to open the nation’s first MakerBot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz. The 3D Printing Initiative received additional funding in fall 2014, including a $10 million NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant to help establish an Engineering Innovation Hub and$850,000 in capital funding for a new 3D printing laboratory.
The HVAMC provides digital design and fabrication expertise to about 60 businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region. The Center also engages the local community and educates the public about the possibilities of 3D printing. Workshops and courses for K-12 educators have attracted a wide variety of teachers, from art to science, who have an interest in digital design and fabrication and are utilizing these new technologies in their classrooms.
Sponsors of this year’s ANYthing conference included SUNY Network of Excellence, GE, Stratasys, Allegheny Educational Systems, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Shapeways, MakerBot and 3Delivers.