SUNY’s 3D printing success story

At its School of Science and Engineering, SUNY New Paltz has developed a 3D printing curriculum as part of its Digital Design and Fabrication (DDF) class. This class brings together art and engineering majors to collaborate with local entrepreneurs and businesses on Real-Time Prototyping™, model making and small-scale creative and manufacturing projects. The MakerBot Innovation Center, part of the HVAMC, is already providing digital design and fabrication expertise to about 50 businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region.

“We’re really proud of the success that SUNY New Paltz has had with its MakerBot Innovation Center in just one year and how they were able to use 3D printing to foster science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education,” said Jenny Lawton, CEO of MakerBot. “The interest from companies that are looking to hire talent with additive manufacturing experience is increasing significantly. SUNY New Paltz has found a unique way of satisfying that demand by bringing together art and engineering students with local businesses through 3D printing. The results are inspiring, and we can’t wait to see what they will be able to achieve in the future.”

The MakerBot Innovation Center has also helped SUNY New Paltz engage the local community and educate the public about the possibilities of 3D printing, says the institution. Workshops for K-12 educators have attracted a wide variety of teachers, from art to science, who have an interest in digital design and fabrication and in utilizing these new technologies in the classroom. SUNY New Paltz also offers a two-semester course in digital design and fabrication to nondegree students from the community.

Innovative 3D printing projects that have come out of the MakerBot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz range from prosthetics to a motorcycle safety product to an industrial venting system. One of the projects completed this past year is a 3D printed “robohand” that enables a six-year-old boy without any fingers on his left hand to grasp objects.

Another is the Life Grip, a motorcycle grip that allows drivers to actuate the horn without taking their eyes off the road. The inventor, Lewis Donnelly, prototyped the Life Grip on a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. During the development process, Lewis discovered that changing the level of infill of the 3D print had an effect on the level of vibration that is transmitted through the grip; as a result, he was able to make the grip safer by adjusting it for different levels of fatigue.

“This discovery was possible only because the rapid nature of 3D printing allowed him to quickly make and test multiple iterations of his product,” said the institution in a statement.

Graduate student Katherine Wilson paid $75
to make a lamp housing on an industrial 3D printer before coming
to SUNY New Paltz. On a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer, the same part cost $0.50 and took two hours.

The SUNY New Paltz MakerBot Innovation Center will celebrate its one-year anniversary as part of the HVAMC on February 25. In honor of the one-year anniversary, Lawton will give a talk on the current state and the future of the 3D printing industry in a presentation entitled “12 Years from Now,” on Wednesday, February 25, at 4:30 p.m., in Lecture Center 100, at SUNY New Paltz.

For more information on the MakerBot Innovation Centers, email, visit or call toll-free 855-347-4780. To learn more about the SUNY New Paltz MakerBot Innovation Center, visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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