UNF engineering students get hands-on experience with 3D printing

By: Kaitlyn Chana , Action News Jax

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University of North Florida engineering students are getting hands-on experience with 3D printing. 

Stephen Stagon, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UNF, showed Action News Jax how students are able to create everything from medical tools to everyday objects. 

“You can make your design come to life. Feel it, touch it and check it out in 3D,” Stagon said.

The 3D machine is precise in each intricate swipe, one layer at a time, as it builds in vertically to create 3D printed objects. 

Stagon said he’s seen more motivation in students as their ideas turn into inventions that become real. 

“When you see something on paper or you make the model in the computer, you don’t actually get to touch it and feel it. It feels like it’s died there a lot of times,” Stagon said. 

This device uses support and modeling material, which allows advanced printing objects to move, twist or roll. UNF graduate student Kyle Gobble showed us a small container with a twisted top that was printed in one session. 

Gobble said after the object is digitally created in the computer, it’s sent to the printer in a readable format where the magic happens. 

“The actual hands-on experience kind of rejuvenates all the years I’ve been spending actually studying a book,” Gobble said. 

We were able to see other items that were designed in the Biomedical Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping Laboratory.

This 3D printer creates accurate models so ideas from paper or a CT scan can come to life – as tangible objects. About 100 engineering students each year use this $30,000 machine to transform their flat ideas into three dimensions. 

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