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Ferris Maker Space Offers 3-D Capabilities to Campus Community

Bill KoepfAn array of equipment capable of generating three-dimensional objects is now available to the Ferris State University campus community. The “Ferris Maker Space” is operational in Room 110 of the Swan Technical Arts Building.

Bill Koepf, an associate professor and program coordinator for Product Design Engineering Technology, said that 3-D printing has been accessible on campus for some time, but “98 to 99 percent of the people didn’t know about it.”

Koepf said that he will visit a number of professors and classes during the Fall 2015 semester to spread the word about the Maker Space’s four 3-D printers, a number of supporting desktop computers, a desktop CNC (computerized number control) router, one 3-D scanner and a desktop wire bender.

“I want as many students as possible getting comfortable with this technology,” Koepf said.

The Maker Space was created with the goal to give every Ferris student, regardless of program, an opportunity for hands-on experimentation and prototyping, by offering the means to create almost anything. Koepf said that, given the current demand for services from the campus community, they are willing to entertain all requests to make use of their equipment.

“Our end goal would be that they were using the equipment for projects on campus,” he said. “Some students have come in with hopes of just learning the technology. 3-D equipment doesn’t solve everything, but it certainly helps.”

Equipment in the Maker Space has already produced collaborative effort, as well as materials for classroom presentations. Koepf said Marketing and Graphics Design students were able to generate bottle mock-ups, for use in product branding and marketing projects.

Three of the 3-D printers were acquired with grant monies provided by The Ferris Foundation. Koepf said that the Product Design program funded the purchase of the other printer. A collaborative effort is underway, with Ferris’ Plastics Engineering Technology program, to possibly produce the 2.85-millimeter filament used in the 3-D printers. Koepf said that they are also in discussions with the university’s Architecture program about acquiring a laser cutter for the Maker Space, to bolster the experience for users of the facility.

PHOTO CAPTION: Product Design Engineering Technology Program Coordinator Bill Koepf shows off three of the 3-D printers available in the Ferris Maker Space, located in the university’s Swan Technical Arts Building.