Technical universities conduct scientific research with the use of 3D printers and educate completely new staff – aware of new possibilities in the field of 3D printing – scientists and engineers.
This is how the Silesian University of Technology operates, which uses 3DGence devices on a daily basis.
Universities focus on students’ development
Spatial modeling and handling the 3D printing process in Poland are still quite niche skills. However, they are gaining more and more students from technical universities. The Programming and servicing 3D printing itself in December last year was included in the Integrated Qualification System, which means officially became a profession that you can prepare for in our country.
Nobody is surprised by this nowadays – people with innovation skills who can significantly influence the functioning of enterprises appreciate the job market and business. And to them belongs 3D printing technology, which is applicable in almost every branch of industry.
3D printers are still quite rare devices at universities and not at all faculties students have the opportunity to work with them. And the 3D industry and scientific institutions know, however, that it has to be changed as soon as possible.
We come from the scientific community of the Silesian University of Technology, so a few years ago we decided to take care of the students of this university and equipped their studio with our 3D printers. We also regularly run student internships in our factory and R&D department.
Mateusz Sidorowicz from 3DGence
3D printing for health
Courses related to 3D printing pop up like mushrooms in educational offers of various universities. After completing them, you can get one of two specializations – an engineer or a 3D printing operator. However, the most valuable in this area are classes at technical universities which teach 3D printing from scratch, educating scientists and specialists of various fields, teaching them how to use additive technology in specific fields.
3DGence 3D printers at the Silesian University of Technology
At the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology students create personalized medical devices in 3D. They are very accurate and individually tailored to patients which promote faster recovery of both humans and animals. As part of the classes conducted at the faculty, students printed, among others, an orthosis for a stork who had a broken leg.
Very often in the case of complicated injuries – including fractures – both doctors and veterinarians do not undertake treatment with standard plaster dressings or expensive implants made of metal biomaterials. A personalized implant or a few-piece external stabilizer printed in 3D often turns out to be a much better and in many cases also a cheaper solution.
Dr. Eng. Wojciech Kajzer, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Silesian University of Technology
3D printed prototypes of implants
At the university, there are also models for planning operations and prototypes of personalized implants. Those that are made of 3D special purpose plastics are more biocompatible which makes them easier to integrate into tissues. On a 3D printer, they are made faster, more accurately and cheaper which significantly improves the work of the doctor and often even saves the lives of patients.
Using the 3D printers, the Silesian University of Technology also produces props for students and renews laboratory equipment. It printed, among other things, the lumps needed for scientific experiments – a ball, a cylinder, a cube, and a cone. Students use them to study buoyancy, which occurs during the analyzed, complex processes of dynamic immersion in various liquids.
Universities do not have high budgets for research, and unfortunately they often give up non-standard, expensive ideas. A good 3D printer can solve this problem.
Mateusz Sidorowicz, 3DGence
Renovation of laboratory equipment with 3D printers
3D printing can also be the best method for renovating damaged or decomposed scientific positions. Students of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Silesian University of Technology design missing or damaged elements in the CAD environment and print them in 3D, choosing the right material to maintain their proper properties.
We had a problem because some devices could not be repaired at all due to the fact that their producer has either already ceased operations, or does not have a part or replacement of it. Thanks to the 3D printer, we have created the necessary elements, keeping the parameters needed for the tests.
What’s more, we can modify them today, improving the quality of equipment and the accuracy of results achieved during the research.
Dr. Eng. Tomasz Machoczek, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Institute of Applied Mechanics, Silesian University of Technology
Technology like any other
An employee of the aviation industry, furniture designer, physician, biomedical engineer, scientist and in fact anyone who wants to take full advantage of the benefits of innovation, should know the possibilities of 3D printing. Only those who use this technology in their industry and find other, unconventional applications for it will be a step ahead of the competition.
Today, technical universities are becoming a hotbed for ideas, where young imagination meets knowledge and modern equipment. Everything indicates that educated in this way, students will find their place in every business because soon the 3D printer will be standard equipment for factories, companies, offices and even university laboratories.