In an act archetypical of the globalization in commerce and education in our time, Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama has received 3D printers as a donation from Nanjing Zinjin-Lead Electronic Group’s general manager, Zhang Liu. The school’s automated manufacturing program functions as necessary preparation for students by focusing on engineering principles and technical skills to better support engineers and other professionals concerned with various manufacturing operations. With prescience, Wallace’s president and principle supported presentations on 3D printing in conjunction with the donation. Raymond Cheng, CEO from SoZo group, coordinated the presentations. SoZo works to establish networks and infrastructure between Asia and in Wallace’s case, the United States. The manufacturing program deals extensively with additive manufacturing individual parts necessary for a product’s optimum functionality. A prolific spokesman for additive manufacturing, Graham Tromans, presented at Wallace regarding the role of 3D printing in additive manufacturing. He has touched on the subject for 3DPI before; delving into real world concerns and applications of 3D printing on a consumer level.
The 3D printers donated are valued at $10,000 each, a price tag warranting a Ben Parker-like ”with great power comes great responsibility” presentation on the uses and potential that students will have with Zhang Liu’s donation. Graham gave gave a presentation entitled ’Demystifying 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing’ as well as technical briefings on different 3D printers. As evidenced by the additive manufacturing representation of 3D printing in aerospace, medical and automative communities, Tromans predicts 3D printing will be a $4 billion business by 2015, growing exponentially thereafter. As Tromans detailed in his 3DPI article, it is important to note the difference between actual additive products and 3D printed ”like” additive products, especially at the consumer level. Hopefully, with further contributions and educational opportunities like the one at Wallace Community College, the distinctions and expertise to acknowledge and develop applicable 3D printed addtive manufactured products will arise and assauge the pragmatic concerns at the consumer level. Thankfully we have people learning not just how it works, but also how to apply 3D printing technology properly.