This week I wanted to write a bit about one of my favorite involvements on campus. You’ve probably heard me talk a bit about 3D4E in my past blogs, but I wanted to explain a little bit more in depth about exactly what it is we do and how we do it.
To start with, there are actually multiple chapters of 3D4E; the club was founded early last year with chapters at USC, SDSU, and LMU. It really began as a small group of students who got together and talked about 3D printing and 3D design using Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools. I got involved with the club early on, and it has been quite the wild ride to see where we’ve come to in a little over a year and a half. In short, we now have another chapter at UCLA, as well as interest from ASU, Harvey Mudd, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in joining the national organization.
Our chapter at USC has seen some explosive growth with a lot of people interested in getting involved in projects that revolve around 3D printing. Some of these include:
USC Freehand – A project that is focused on creating and printing 3D prostheses for children around the world. Last year, we managed to print over thirty prostheses that went to places all around the world, from Haiti to Syria and , of course, in our backyard in Los Angeles. We’ve started reaching out to hospitals to get partnerships, and our efforts are renewed this year as we continue to try to make more of an impact.
We were featured on Los Angeles NBC about our work.
We also won the Viterbi Kieul choice award last semester for “Most Philanthropic”
Scale Model of Campus – This is a project focused on creating a 3D map of USC at a much smaller scale. We originally thought this would be a great project to get involved in after seeing the 3D printed model of San Francisco (see below).
We’ve made some great strides at completing this massive project, but we expect to be completed sometime in the spring semester. We’re interested in going a step further than just creating the models, doing things like placing LED’s in each building and creating a legend that has buttons which can trigger the corresponding LED to light up when pressed. We also plan to have a Braille component of the legend, and corresponding labels outside each of the buildings, so that visitors who come to campus who might be visually impaired, can get a feeling for the campus.
Design Team – Last semester we introduced a team focused on design, which actually competes with similar teams from other chapters of 3D4E. Last semester, the teams focused on creating a completely student made and printed RC Car; the entire car (except for electronics) was printed using 3D4E printers and the cars competed on an obstacle course. The San Diego team took home the prize for the first innagural competition.
Some of the newer projects that we’re working on this semester include a printer redesign project (where students take apart one of ur printers and completely redesign it to make it better), a 3D Body Scanning Project (where you can scan your body to get a digital copy of yourself), and many other student run projects like surfing fins and quadcopters. It’s amazing to see the community that has developed around 3D printing, and we can’t wait to see the great things that come from it in the following years! We’ve worked with a lot of different companies and organizations that have helped us on our projects, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without EnablingTheFuture, Blackstone LaunchPad, AIO Robotics, 3D Systems, SparkSC, AutoCAD, Global Medical Training, the Boy Scouts, and many more!
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