Twelve years from now the second quarter of the 21st century will have begun, current kindergarten students will be applying to college, five Olympic Games will have passed and 3D printers will become a common tool.
CEO of MakerBot, Jennifer Lawton, came to SUNY New Paltz on Feb. 25 to tell a lecture hall full of students, faculty and community members just that. Marking the one-year anniversary of the MakerBot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz, she spoke of the great year and the future of the center and the industry.
“The 3D Innovation Center is so important,” Lawton said. “It allows for community members to engage the innovation center and learn from and with each other and bring about the next industrial revolution.”
Lawton spoke of the evolution of computers in the daily lives of common people. She envisions that 3D printers will soon become very easily accessible and available for everyday items that are easier to print than repurchase.
“MakerBot is the core of our 3D printing initiative,” SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian said. “Which has come such a long way in a short time.”
The center itself partners with the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC), SUNY New Paltz’s second lab working in this booming industry. Both labs work with over 50 clients to design and print prototypes and other needed parts, tools and products, according to Dean of the School of Engineering, Dan Freedman.
“One of the reasons the relationship between MakerBot and the HVAMC is so strong is because both organizations have dealt with rapid change and expansion,” Freedman said.
The initiative will soon spread to local community colleges such as Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, Orange and Columbia Greene. According to Freedman, this is to prepare students at these colleges, many of whom transfer to SUNY New Paltz, for the 3D printing program offered here so these students are not at a disadvantage.