There are many unique challenges and requirements for 3D printing in Education:
- Value/use across multiple departments – each academic discipline has a different set of 3D printing requirements. Some departments need functional materials with high strength, or perhaps specialized material properties. Other departments care about the visual appearance of parts, requiring them to have superior surface finish or be in full color. Still other departments are concerned with the precision of parts to ensure they stay within tolerances or can achieve fine features with high accuracy.
- Bottlenecks during busy periods – The production schedule of the 3D printer is, in some cases, at odds with the academic schedule. Everyone who needs to use the printer requires it at the same time for assignments, especially at the end of each semester. This creates bottlenecks at times when people most need the 3D printer and have the tightest deadlines.
- Safety and sustainability – EHS requirements and the need for changes to infrastructure (i.e.; ventilation), as well as regulations around safety and sustainability, are at odds with today’s most popular 3D printing technologies. In fact, many 3D printers release dangerous chemicals into the air that must be carefully regulated.
- Student access to technologies used in industry – Educational institutions want to provide their students with a set of experiences that can be used when they enter the professional world. Therefore, it is wise to provide students with experience on a range of technologies that they will likely use in their careers.
- Upfront and ongoing costs – Educational institutions provide academic departments with set budgets that can only be spend during a given period of time. This can limit the technology they can procure.
- Reliability (uptime) – Educational institutions cannot afford to have non-functioning printers for 2 or 3 months. Having a non-functioning printer for that long can mean that an entire class will not be able to use the printer.
- Traceability – Since there are so many different users and a large number of parts at academic institutions, it can be difficult to properly track the parts to ensure they reach the right students after printing and to ensure proper tracking of material charges.
- Ease of use –It can be challenging to train a large number of students to use the technology. The 3D printer should be easy enough for students to learn and use so they can spend most of their time learning how to harness the value of the technology rather than spending most of the semester learning how to use the printer.
Flexible 3D printing technology provides value across academic departments
RIZE’s patented technology, Augmented Deposition, is a hybrid process, combining industrial material extrusion of thermoplastic with material jetting of functional inks. This enables easy, clean support removal and ink marking on any part surface.
RIZE provides the capability of tracking and authenticating of parts with marking ink. You can add text or QR codes and other information to the part. Using this ability, you can attach all types of information, including student names, ID numbers, dates of part submission and other metadata about the part. This capability is also useful for applying use and assembly instructions, as well as how to connect the part to a model file online that identifies where the part came from and how it is to be used.
RIZE provides wide application flexibility. Our XRIZE™ 3D printer can produce carbon composite parts as well as full-color functional parts. This is useful for many applications in education, such as life sciences (i.e.; medical and chemical models), geography, geology, architecture, product design, the arts, engineering and more.
Safety First in Education
A major challenge for 3D printing in Education is safety. Many of the most popular thermoplastic filament 3D printers each emit more than 200 harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). And without proper ventilation, storage, disposal and handling considerations, this can place users, including students who are in the vicinity, at risk, exposing them to harmful chemicals without realizing it.
RIZE developed a proprietary engineering-grade thermoplastic called RIZIUM™, which provides several benefits:
- RIZIUM is safe and clean and is comprised of medical-grade materials approved for skin and food contact. RIZE 3D printers extrude RIZIUM at a much lower temperature than the decomposition temperature so no harmful chemicals are emitted and, therefore, no venting is required.
- Best-in-class Z-axis strength, very strong interlayer bonding
- Low moisture absorption, <.01%, without the need for special storage requirements
- RIZIUM is recyclable and sustainable
3D Printing Logistics in Education
- Training infrastructure – With an estimated 6-month turnover of student users, it is important that 3D printers be simple enough to use so that students can get up and running fast. This reduces or eliminates the infrastructure needed to extensively train students on the technology.
- Production bottlenecks – 3D printers must be reliable and produce parts fast, without post-processing that can jam the system. This is especially important leading up to final projects.
RIZE 3D printers are so easy to use, even our customers with no 3D printing experience are up and running in <20 minutes. And with minimal post-processing, RIZE provides the fastest time-to-part to a part in hand.
- Highly automated software – no expertise required
- Easy to use printer – no need to level build plate, change tips, etc.
- Minimal material management – no special storage, handling or disposal
- Because we jet Release Ink between the part and its supports, post-processing takes just seconds or minutes, leaving a smooth surface finish. No soaking in chemicals, washing, drying, removal of residual material or coating are required