Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the latest college to bring a MakerBot® Innovation Center to its campus, joining the likes of Florida Polytechnic University and State University of New York, among others. As the first university in the Midwest and first private college in the US to launch one of the brand’s Innovation Centers, Xavier will gives its students and faculty access to a huge range of MakerBot products. The desktop printer manufacturer is currently working with the school to train and support staff and help develop a curriculum surrounding their 3D printing technology.
Today marks the grand opening of the school’s MakerBot Innovation Center, with those on Xavier’s campus invited to tour the facility during open hours from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The opening ceremony will take place at 4:30 pm and will include a blessing from Xavier’s president, Father Michael J. Graham, S.J., speeches from University staff, and a speech from MakerBot president Frank Alfano.
The center is meant to cater to the needs of Xavier, while encouraging “entrepreneurialism, education, and innovation”, according to the company. To do so, students will engage in model making and small manufacturing projects, as they collaborate with local businesses and researchers on real-world projects. Like other Innovation Centers, Xavier’s will be fully stocked with MakerBot products: 25 MakerBot Replicator, three Z18, and three Replicator Mini 3D Printers; a few Digitizer 3D scanners; and a bounty of PLA. All printers will be networked for remote control, print queuing, and the ability to mass produce parts.
Shawn Nason, chief innovation officer at Xavier University, said of the new center, “We’re so excited to be the first private institution in the country and the first university in the Midwest region to partner with MakerBot. Our mission at Xavier University is to educate our students so that they are able to make the world a better place. We’re positioned to do just that with the unique 3D printing and prototyping technology of MakerBot! With these innovative MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, we will transform how our students learn here at the Xavier Center for Innovation and beyond. With MakerBot, we’ll not only be ‘making’ 3D objects in our classrooms, but helping shape the leaders and innovators of future industries as well.”
MakerBot CEO Jenny Lawton added, “The MakerBot Innovation Center has garnered huge interest since we first introduced the concept last year, and we’re excited that Xavier University has decided to work with us to unleash the creative potential of 3D printing on its campus and in the Cincinnati area. The passion for innovation and 3D printing at Xavier is contagious and we can’t wait to see what comes out of their MakerBot Innovation Center. We’re particularly thrilled to provide the team at Xavier with Consulting from MakerBot to help develop a curriculum that integrates 3D printing. This is an important step that will help introduce more students, community members, and entrepreneurs to the idea of 3D printing and how this technology can help them visualize and memorize complex theoretical concepts, gain hands-on experience and unleash their creativity.”
Xavier’s new center is strategically located in the burgeoning Tech Belt, fueled in part by the United States’ pilot 3D printing institute, America Makes. As a college with a 3D printing center in the region, the school is ideally placed to connect with other AM institutions in the region, potentially cultivating an AM renaissance in the Midwest.