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.
August 15, 2019
RIT/NTID, World Federation of the Deaf sign formal cooperation agreement
The agreement aims to continue and strengthen the relationship between the world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and the global deaf rights organization.
August 14, 2019
RIT to upgrade Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory through $1 million state grant
The 2019-20 renovation project will be launched with a $1 million grant from New York state’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program and will further advance RIT’s research in integrated photonics, quantum information technology, biomedical devices and sensors for smart systems.
August 14, 2019
RIT’s Inclusive Excellence program engages rising sophomore students in research
RIT is helping more students from nontraditional pathways get hands-on experience in scientific research early in their academic careers through a unique summer program focused on mentorship.
August 7, 2019
RIT helps visitors to Bethel Woods museum mark Woodstock's iconic moment in music history
Six recently graduated motion picture science students from RIT’s College of Art and Design wove together the captivating videos for a museum exhibit at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the nonprofit cultural center located at the National Register Historic Site of the Woodstock festival in Bethel, N.Y.