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SBCC Rolls Out New 3D Printers, Offers Introductory Class Beginning in April

Santa Barbara City College drafting/CAD professor Armando Arias del Cid explains the workings of 3D printers. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara City College drafting/CAD professor Armando Arias del Cid explains the workings of 3D printers. (Santa Barbara City College photo)

New technologies in the world of 3D printing are rapidly changing the way objects are produced, and Santa Barbara City College, with its recent acquisition of two of the industry’s state-of-the-art 3D printers, is poised to lead the community in this direction.

The college’s Drafting/CAD department, under the guidance of drafting professor Armando Arias del Cid, is rolling out the new printers just in time for its Intro to 3D Printing class, beginning April 22 on SBCC’s main campus.

The Markforged Mark-Two and Makerbot z18 printers were recently acquired through a California Department of Education Career Technical Education Incentive Grant, adding to the department’s growing collection of 3D printers. The new printers, along with the lab’s two Makerbot replicator 2x models, operate through a process called additive manufacturing, where the printer interprets a 3D model blueprint design and transforms it into a model/prototype by adding plastic material layer-by-layer until the object is fully formed.

The new printers take this one step further. The Makerbot z18 can yield larger objects, while the Markforged uses the materials Kevlar and onyx to create usable functional components, such as car parts.

“We are very excited to make our Makerspace printers available to the college and community through our new 3D printing class and our open labs,” Arias del Cid said. “Anyone enrolled in the college may drop in during our open lab hours, first come, first served. … We are happy to teach anyone how to use them. It’s a great resource.”

In recent years, SBCC students have used the 3D printers to create projects such as a model of the Kepler telescope, a hand prosthetics model, small-scale houses and building models, several models for the CAD2 and CAD3 classes, and prototypes for the college’s Enterprise Launch program, including a cell phone accessory for improving sound (Sound-crutch), a prototype for a kitchen accessory (The Claw), an advanced home use agricultural devise (Veggienest), a ceramic travel mug and others.

The Intro to 3D Printing class, offered by SBCC’s Career Skills Institute, covers instruction on the history of 3D printers and software, how to find a subject online, how to print and other practical applications, and how to maintain the printers.

— Luz Reyes-Martín is the director of communications for Santa Barbara City College.

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