The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich) has invested in multiple Stratasys 3D printers to enrich undergraduate engineering design training and aid research students.
The investment in the haul of professional uPrint SE Plus 3D Printers, from Swiss Stratasys reseller, Alphacam, follows ETH’s objective to completely modernize its Technical Drawing and CAD course by installing the very latest technologies available. According to Professor Dr. Kristina Shea, head of the Engineering Design and Computing Laboratory (EDAC) at ETH Zürich, Stratasys’ uPrint SE Plus 3D Printer was selected specifically for its reliability and ability to produce higher-quality, functional parts in comparison to other similar options available on the market.
“The course has between 450-500 students, so reliability was essential and a big part of our decision to invest in a professional 3D printer,” says Dr. Shea. “We had previously relied on CAD and modeling on a screen, but using high-quality, functional physical models ensures students are far more engaged.”
Customization, automation and motivation
One of the key projects on the course is the customization and building of a balloon-powered car model, which challenges students to design and 3D print various iterations of two parts for the car.
“Thanks to 3D printing technology, we’ve given students the tools to design and prototype the wheel spokes and the top of the cars,” states Dr Shea. She continues: “I was particularly interested in the effect of using 3D printed models on students’ motivation. With 3D printing, we saw increased motivation in learning to use the CAD software. The appreciation of scale and the importance of production tolerances grew when the customized parts the students had designed were 3D printed and assembled. Even though design manufacturing guidelines were provided, there were marked increases in understanding as a result of the material realization of their designs.”