GE Additive to bring 3D printing to over one million students

Award winning OEM GE Additive has announced that its Additive Education Program (AEP) will have given over one million students the opportunity to use 3D printing by 2020. The company expects a total of 2,001 schools and 1,296,500 students will have been reached since the programs launch.

A student at Three Rivers Elementary school uploads an object to the 3D printer. Photo via GE additive.

Bringing 3D printing into the classroom   

GE Additive, set up the AEP program in 2017 in accordance with its long-term plans of investing a total of $10 million over five years in educational programs for 3D printing.

In previous years the program has focused on providing desktop 3D printers and packages to primary and secondary schools, including some universities and colleges, with priority given to schools strongly committed to STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) programs.

Earlier this year GE Additive announced it would focus on K-12 students for the 2019/2020 run of the programme, omitting universities and colleges from the program. A second investment is usually allotted for higher education, with the program having provided colleges and universities with metal 3D printers over the last two years. 

Speaking at the time Jason Oliver, President and CEO of GE Additive said, “The purpose of our education program is to create moments like that, to inspire students like her, in classrooms all around the world.”

“The sooner we put additive technology in the hands of the next generation of engineers, materials scientists and chemists, the sooner we can realize its potential.”

Students at Deerwood Elementary school test their 3D printed mazes. Photo via GE additive.

Expanding the GE Additive Education Program

This year there were 3,500 applicants for the program, of which 982 were successful. GE says, come September 2020, 793,000 children in these schools will gain access to polymer 3D printing technology – up from 500,000 last year. 

In preparation for the 2019/2020 cycle, which commences this September, GE Additive’s AEP will install desktop polymer systems alongside Polar3D’s Polar Cloud platform in these selected schools. 

Through Polar Cloud, schools can access tools, software, and applications in a collaborative environment. They will receive either a Dremel Digilab 3D45 or a Monoprice Voxel polymer system, as well as a supply of filament, and lesson plans from STEAMtrax and Tinkercad. Each school will have its own store on the Polar Cloud platform, where design files can be uploaded and sold, with all proceeds going back to the school. 

In previous years for the universities and colleges included in the program, GE Additive awarded five Mlab cusing 200R direct metal laser melting (DMLM) 3D printers to universities in the Republic of Ireland, Germany and the U.S. A further eight colleges and universities across the U.S. and Australia received a Concept Laser MLAB100R metal additive manufacturing system in 2017. 

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Featured image shows a Polar 3D printer in use by students. Photo via Polar 3D.