What (probably US) colleges would you 3d printing folks recommend? My current list is pretty much just the top 5 engineering schools + some fallbacks, so if there are any schools with a heavy focus on 3d printing that are maybe easier to get into, I’d love to know about them.
Take a step back and ask yourself what it is about 3d printing that intrigues you.
Is it the engineering hardware challenge? Mechanics? Electrical? Material properties?
Is it coding the design software? The firmware? The higher level “ecosystem” of infrastructure & services?
Or perhaps you’re more of a graphic/industrial designer type?
Georgia tech has many printers of all different levels and types, not to mention the many projects in and across disciplines in the areas described above. It’s really pretty fascinating - although I’m sure other major engineering universities have similar levels of access to 3D printing, I was always impressed- and learned quite a lot!
I second what Anthony said, most mafor engineering universities have 3d printers, don’t let that decide which one you go to. Look for one with programs that work with what you want to learn. As Andrew said, there are many different directions you can go in.
Yeah this is pretty much what I was expecting. My mom said to ask “the people online” though so I thought it was worth a shot.
@Andrew_Plumb I’m not really sure why I like 3d printing so much. I think it’s because it’s so interdisciplinary. I used to tinker with 3d graphics a lot and people went “Oh so you want to be a graphic designer.” Then I spent some time tuning a model airplane so everyone’s reaction was “Oh so you’ll probably study aerospace engineering.” When I tell them I built a 3d printer they just kind of give me a blank stare.
Plus I love debugging. I’ve never been very good at coming up with actually new ideas, but taking old ones and just making them a little bit better is quite fun for me. A Sells mendel provides plenty of bugs to fix.
I’d look for a good Mechanical Engineering program then. Unless you want to be at the forefront of writing the next generation of software powering these printers you can teach yourself the coding. In my experience the mechanical engineering side, and the math underlying it all, are the harder parts to self-learn.
Plus, mechanical engineering (or any engineering really) involves a lot of that tinkering and playing, once you get past the first year to year and a half hard academic-weeding-out courses.
I know the aeronautical students at RPI did some projects with rapid prototyped parts. I think it was maybe laser sintered powder? There was also pretty good access to CNC and manual machine tools.
Electrical/electronics/computer/control engineering. Mechanics are mostly intuitive, but if you want to make sense of the electronics, how to control them and improve on them, that’s where you might want to be. The same goes to any physical robot/vehicle/gizmo you might want to build.
If your interest is more on the creative aspects of static 3D printed parts or material properties then Mechanical engineering and/or design will be your best bet.
Many aspects of engineering are cross-disciplinary, but learning the basics of quantum physics and stochastic differential equations does much more to figure out how gears work than learning how gears work does for understanding transistors and control systems…
To expand on Edgar’s comment about creative aspects, you might even consider Architecture.
It really depends on the degree that you want to pursue. I have my BS in Aerospace engineering and we used 3D printers all the time for wind tunnel models and mock-ups of parts and I even use them in my professional career as well.