SUNY’s 3D printing success story

MakerBot and SUNY New Paltz celebrate one-year anniversary of MakerBot Innovation Center.

3D-maker-SUNYOne year ago, the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz) became the first university in the U.S. to open a MakerBot® Innovation Center–a large-scale installation of MakerBot Replicator® 3D Printers and supporting devices that aims to allow organizations and schools to innovate faster, increase collaboration and compete more effectively.

MakerBot Innovation Centers are designed to be large-scale 3D printing solutions for universities, companies and other organizations, built in partnership with MakerBot and its engineering, consulting and training teams. MakerBot Innovation Centers are intended to increase innovation and catalyze new ideas and growth. At a university, a MakerBot Innovation Center can be open to the student body, and often the community, as a destination for fostering innovation and making things.

Since SUNY New Paltz opened its MakerBot Innovation Center in February 2014, the university has used it to help establish the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) as a premiere hub for advanced manufacturing technology in the Hudson Valley, garnering industry interest and securing funding for further expansion.

According to Donald Christian, president of SUNY New Paltz, the MakerBot Innovation Center helped jumpstart SUNY New Paltz’s 3D printing initiative, which has enjoyed “tremendous interest” from students, faculty and the surrounding business community. With the MakerBot Innovation Center, the university forged public-private partnerships with industry to create a “vibrant innovation hub that serves both students and the local business community in unprecedented ways.”

Among many milestones, SUNY New Paltz was awarded a $10 million NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the fall of 2014 to establish an Engineering Innovation Hub and secured $850,000 in capital funding for a new 3D printing laboratory.

“The MakerBot Innovation Center has been hugely successful here at SUNY New Paltz, and the interest from both students and industry has exceeded even our wildest expectations,” said Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science and Engineering. “MakerBot put us on the map as an innovation leader. We’ve seen huge interest from companies looking for talent with additive manufacturing experience, and the number of inquiries we get from local business and industry grows daily. Students who learn about 3D printing at SUNY New Paltz will have a significant competitive advantage when they start looking for jobs after they graduate.”

(Next page: How the Innovation Center works; industry projects)

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