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Welcome to the JMU 3-SPACE Classroom website and blog. This semester James Madison University is proud to be building the first 3D-printing general education college classroom!

A number of other universities already have 3D-printing facilities and labs in Engineering departments, Libraries, and special centers.  JMU 3-SPACE will be the first true 3D-printing college classroom in the country, built for general education courses that are open to all students and departments at the university.

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The 3-SPACE classroom will be comprised of stations for 2-3 students, so that each student can have extended hands-on experience with 3D modeling and printing in a small group setting.

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The 3d printer at each station will be an Afinia H-Series, which works by extruding ABS plastic through a hot nozzle, building up 3D models one level at a time.  You can learn more about this 3D printer and its accessibility to new users at this Workshopshed interview with Aaron Pratt, Afinia’s Vice President of Marketing.

UPDATE:

This winter we are adding two new machines to JMU 3-SPACE, a MakerBot Replicator 2 for larger/finer prints, and a MakerBot Digitizer for making 3D scans!

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3D printing and education:

“The exploration of the 3D printing process from design to production, as well as demonstrations and participatory access, can open up new possibilities for learning activities.”  – NMC 2013 Higher Education Horizon Report

“‘This is a curriculum that challenges young people to design and innovate – essential skills for them to participate in an increasingly technological world.”  – Richard Green, Chief Executive of the Design and Technology Association, on why the new British national curriculum calls for a 3D printer in every grade school

Read more about 3D printing and its impact on the future:

See what other universities have done to make 3D printing accessible:

  • Virginia Tech:  Dream Vendor, a student-accessible 3D-printing station in Mechanical Engineering 
  • University of Rhode Island:  3D Teaching Animation Program, for printing pharmaceutical models
  • Cornell University:  Creative Machines Lab, 3D-printed robotics and bio-printing in Mechanical Engineering 
  • University of Mary Washinton:  ThinkLab, a 3D-printing, robotics, and electronics Library makerspace
  • University of Michigan:  3D Lab, an interdisciplinary service facility that provides 3D-printing access and training
  • University of Illinois:  MakerLab, the first Business School 3D printing lab
  • North Carolina State University:  Makerspace, a Library lab for 3D printing, laser cutting, and scanning

Some of the labs and programs listed above are for engineering and technical students, and some make 3D printing facilities or services accessible to the student body as a whole.  What makes the JMU 3-SPACE Classroom new and different is that it is a classroom environment where students from all majors can take courses that involve hands-on 3D printing projects.  We hope that over the next few years the 3-SPACE Classroom will help many JMU faculty and departments develop new 3D-printing courses and projects, to help JMU students become educated and enlightened!