DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – University of North Texas officials held an open house to unveil the new College of Engineering Additive Manufacturing Lab that will dedicate itself to the use and research of 3D printing.
Dr. Raj Banerjee, the lab director, said most manufacturing techniques are subtractive which means objects are made from larger portions of materials. They are then drilled, cut, or ground down into the components that are being made.
He said 3D printing is instead additive because components are made by adding materials.
“Then you build another layer on top of that, another layer on top of that so it is a bottom up approach,” said Dr. Banerjee.
Material engineering students are using the new lab to produce prototypes like medical implants and aerospace industry parts out of different metals and plastics.
“It is definitely a game changer because this technology brings in possibilities that basically we could just dream of in the past,” said Banerjee.
Ashley Carter, a senior materials engineering student, said the hands-on experience in the lab is invaluable.
“You’re taking these raw materials and your turning them into something people can use. You can help people,” said Carter. “It’s just amazing.”
Dr. Banerjee said while 3D printing continues to grow popular recreationally and in research, UNT will be looking for the next generation of material engineers to help elevate the technology to the next level.
“We need to have a trained work force that can actually get out into the industry and do these jobs,” said Banerjee.