3D Printing Reshapes Design Experience

Fayetteville, AR - 3D printing technology is bringing new and improved ways for students to learn at the University of Arkansas.

The Mechanical Engineering department now has a 3D printing lab, giving students a chance to turn designs on a computer screen into tangible objects.

"They can look touch feel, and then come up with ideas to improve, modify design, reprint," Department Head Jim Leylek says. "This is really the shape of how we're going to be educating our students in the future."

The technology isn't just available to students. Chris Walker's KopyKat3D is making small scale manufacturing easy for anyone.

"I saw (3D printing) and I thought it was the coolest thing I've ever seen," Walker says. "You can do just about anything... you can take your artwork and turn it into something real... any kind of drawing or sketch or notes and turn it into an actual part."

Walker says his Fayetteville storefront hasn't gotten much attention.

"The general public still doesn't quite know what it is, and it's just going to take some time," he says. "I think everyone is going to need and want 3D printing. They just don't know it yet."

Leylek knows the technology will better prepare students for the working world, but says there's no way to know the impact 3D printing will have on the world itself.

"To be honest with you, sky is the limit," Leylek says. "We're just now realizing, beginning to realize the potential of this particular technology."

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