By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
In South Africa, a woodworker who lost his fingers in a work-related accident developed a plastic prosthesis using a 3-D printer.
When a food manufacturer wanted to get a new product on the shelf quickly, their container design team turned to 3-D printing to develop several prototype designs. The cost was insignificant and the project took a few days. In the past, each prototype would have been fabricated from an individual mold. The cost would have been almost $750 each and would have taken a month.
“This technology is revolutionizing everything from manufacturing to art to food and medicine,” said Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Adjunct Faculty and Entrepreneurship Consultant Joe Kapp.
EWVCTC President Charles “Chuck” Terrell, Information Technology Technician Scott LeCrone and Kapp demonstrated a three-dimensional printer at the college last Wednesday. The printer was purchased for Eastern by Hardy Telecommunications.
“This is just one way we support the college,” said HardyTel Executive Director Scott Sherman. “This will revolutionize the way things are done. The potential is only what the mind can conceive.”
Sherman talked about a friend in college who had an idea.
“The challenge in 1987 was getting a prototype and demonstrating the use,” he said. “It took him years and thousands of dollars. With this technology, he could have had a prototype in a matter of hours or days.”
Sherman also mentioned the potential for a classic car collector looking to restore an old car.
“Let’s say you have a part that was manufactured in 1910 and they don’t exist anymore,” he said. “You could make one from the part you have.”