Team creates solar-powered 3D printing system
The system was built for a multidisciplinary senior design project by students in RIT and UAO
Rochester Institute of Technology engineering students and faculty traveled to Cali, Colombia, on May 28 to deliver and show residents how to use a new solar-powered 3D printing system they developed. The team, overseen by Associate Professor Marcos Esterman, worked with partners from the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente (UAO) throughout the spring semester to create the product. Project organizers intend the venture to help residents of a Cali neighborhood at high risk of attracting youth to gang activities to develop marketable skills in advanced manufacturing.
For their Multidisciplinary Senior Design course, six RIT electrical, industrial and mechanical engineering students created a versatile 3D printer power system that can seamlessly switch power sources for use in developing economies. The group collaborated remotely with UAO students who were tasked with simultaneously developing a way to use recycled plastic bottles as reinforcement in the 3D printing filament.
“The goal is to implement this printing system in Colombia because their electricity isn’t that reliable and because 3D printers need a constant flow of electricity to function,” said Josh Cohen, a fifth-year student from Newton, Mass., who worked on the project. “Having those backup power sources like the solar panels or the battery or also being able to plug into the grid are all things that will keep this printer up and running in the community.”
This project marks the first step in an agreement RIT and UAO reached last fall. The agreement aims to develop student and faculty project and research exchanges focused on international product design theory and commercialization for developing economies. The project was spearheaded by Esterman and his former student Alvaro Rojas Arciniegas ’08, ’13 (industrial engineering, imaging science), who is now a faculty member at UAO. Esterman hopes to build on the initial project’s success and expand the partnership into a series of interrelated programs that will help undergraduate and graduate students from both schools gain design and development experience while making a broader social impact.
“The more experiences that we can create for our students, the more realistic those experiences are, the better prepared they’re going to be to make an impact after graduation,” said Esterman. “Whether that impact is doing their own venture or working for a Fortune 500 company, the skills are very much transferrable and portable. We need to make, for this program in particular, entrepreneurship in a global environment real to our students and the sooner we can make that real, the better.”
RIT has numerous international partnerships, formal agreements and faculty/student exchanges with universities. International co-op experiences are also available to students and new arrangements for these opportunities continue to grow.
April 18, 2019
Student Spotlight: Participating in the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition
Meet Brady Smith, a fourth-year civil engineering technology student and captain of this year’s Concrete Canoe team.
April 17, 2019
Innovative suspension system for off-road vehicles takes top spot in spring Tiger Tank competition
A uniquely designed magnetic coil piston that will improve suspension systems in on- and off-road vehicles took first place in RIT’s semi-annual Tiger Tank entrepreneurship competition. Sponsored by RIT’s Saunders College of Business and hosted by RIT’s Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Tiger Tank gives students the opportunity to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges with a chance to win cash prizes.
April 17, 2019
RIT hosts 2019 Upstate NY Regional Student Conference on April 19 and 20 at Polisseni Center
Concrete canoes float—really. And bridges are more complicated to construct than putting up a few steel beams. Student-engineers who build both the unusual—yet attractive—canoes and complex bridge spans will display their designs at the 2019 Upstate New York Regional Student Conference taking place April 19-20 at RIT.
April 16, 2019
Mahany Welding Supply donates equipment to College of Engineering Technology
Mahany Welding Supply donated two gas metal arc welding cells and two gas tungsten arc welding cells to be used within an advanced manufacturing degree program in RIT’s College of Engineering Technology to provide needed workforce skills.