Alexsandra Pomeroy, of Tobyhanna, a junior majoring in visual arts, used the computer program ZBrush 4R6, to fine-tune a digital model of the bust of a fictional creature, which she “printed” using the school’s 3D printer.
“I’m seeing how much detail I can get out of it,” she said. “I’m testing for myself just how much the 3D printer can do.”
3-D printers build objects by depositing materials such as plastic or metal, layer by layer, until a prototype, final product or piece of art is finished. Pomeroy’s “printed” figure, which stood only about an inch tall, showed tiny detailed facial features matching those displayed on the computer screen.
Another Keystone College junior, Kyle Dotter, of Blakeslee, a Fine Arts major with a concentration in sculpture, sat working in the computer program Rhino, building a 3D digital prototype of a working self-winding watch.
“It’s a lot of tiny gears that have to work together to make one purpose,” he said.
He agreed the class is important to his education and future career.
“3D printing is a rapidly growing field,” he said, “and you need to stay on top of it.”
Event speakers were of the same opinion. Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce President Robert Durkin, in his welcome presentation, stressed innovation as the critical first step in moving forward. The “number one issue,” he said, is “workforce development,” and the need to match innovation and technology with the workforce through education.
Keystone College President David Coppola, who presented brief remarks, and keynote speakers John Dobstetter, of Stratasys, Inc, and John Lash, of Digital Atelier, each spoke of the need for education in the field.
“The point I’m leaning toward here is education,” Lash said. “Buying all the machines is great, but we need to start changing what we’re teaching so people know how to use them.”
Dobstetter spoke of the technical side of the industry and the practical applications of the tools. Explaining additive manufacturing at a simple level, he said it isn’t meant to be “the one tool you’ll have in your toolbox to do everything.” Rather, the “sweet spot” of additive manufacturing is “low volume, high complexity.”
He gave examples of various fields in which additive manufacturing is useful, including air travel, medicine, architecture, fashion, art, entertainment and more.
During a question and answer session, Lash said an abundance of jobs are available in the industry, which is shifting from outsourcing to other countries, to bringing jobs back to the U.S.
Pomeroy and Dotter’s class instructor, Michael Degnan echoed this statement in the classroom.
“There’s a huge demand for trained graduates in the area of 3D design,” he said, “which has many different applications. …There is a push to have this region produce and retain a lot of employees.”
From the Abington Journal, April 9, 2014