One of the last steps you may have in proving yourself for your chosen industry is to implement your knowledge, teamwork and design skills on a multi-semester final project. Your results will be presented in front of other engineers, potential sponsors, and a possible connection that could propel you in the job market. These final projects are important, especially how your design process will parallel workflows that practicing engineers, designers and manufacturers go through. Honing in on a design, accumulating research and creating the best solution to a problem is something these design firms go through every day.
Lead the Pack
So how does an engineering student separate themselves from others and develop an impressive project that will turn heads? 3D printing is a technology that can be used to your advantage. You will be learning a technology that is rapidly developing and being implemented more and more across multiple industries. You will also be forced to utilize and learn CAD, which has become a common requirement for engineering and design positions. 3D printing gives you a peek at the benefits of additive manufacturing, including the flexibility and reduced risk of creating prototypes. Having 3D printing experience will make you shine in the job market and will make your senior capstone project stand out!
Hit the Ground Running
More and more engineers, designers and manufacturers are using or switching to 3D printing. The technology is becoming more affordable, the information is becoming more accessible, and more people feel comfortable with investing in the technology. While this is happening, this technology is becoming more versatile, more complex and can produce better results every day. There are many engineering firms that need to learn about 3D printing for prototyping, but maybe they aren’t sure what capabilities 3D printing has now. Industrial designers highly benefit from printing in PolyJet, which is a method that involves color and textures to step up the prototypes to a close-to-finished result. Manufacturers want to use 3D printing for creating fixtures or for special techniques like sacrificial molding. However, many of these firms need someone with prior knowledge to hit the ground running with 3D printing knowledge. While in a school environment, 3D printing in your senior design project is the best way to get your foot in the door and have the exposure these teams are looking for.
Become a Prototype Pro
The issue with many traditional prototyping methods is how expensive and time-consuming they can be to manufacture. Creating the different configurations may involve custom tooling, small-batch outsourcing or just time to develop. Molds for plastic injection can be very expensive to machine and fix, and the prototyping process to get to the final could multiply that cost. With 3D printing, not only can a designer produce a prototype within hours, but also create multiple configurations of the prototype and adjustments to the design. If the prototype does not function as expected, is not as ergonomic as anticipated or just is not the right size, an additional prototype can be generated.
The engineering, design and manufacturing job markets can be tough to be a part of, which is why the final year of education can be crucial to landing that perfect job. As manufacturing technology grows and changes, the requirements from these firms also change. 3D printing has accelerated prototype processes and created a stronger connection between the designer and the development process. Capstone and senior design projects should absolutely take advantage of this to come out with the best product or solution to demonstrate for others and to include in your portfolio during job searching.
Want to convince your professor they need a 3D printer (so you can use it)? In the below on-demand webinar you will learn the most vital points to make in your pitch for why an investment in a 3D printer reflects the current advancements in technology and promotes realistic expectations for students in their specific job field.