The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, partnered with 3-D printer manufacturer MakerBot to open a 3-D printing center in the university library. The MakerBot Innovation Center provides students, faculty, and the surrounding community access to 50 MakerBot Replicator 3-D printers, desktop 3-D scanners, and the filament necessary to create 3-D models.
The printers will be linked together to allow for remote access, print queuing, and mass production of 3-D items. MakerBot is also providing training for university staff.
The center will provide a way to bring together departments on campus to work on projects. A makerspace class using the center is already being planned by faculty from the environmental conservation, building and construction technology, biology, public health, public policy, and engineering departments.
Plans are also in the works for an entrepreneur-in-residence program, mini-courses and workshops, and business-plan competitions, as well as support for start-ups and small businesses.
“The MakerBot Innovation Center ties in firmly with the campus’s personality of being entrepreneurial and community engaged and will allow us to work more closely with the local business community,” said Jay Schafer, director of libraries at UMass Amherst. “Having a large-scale installation of MakerBot 3-D printers makes this a resource more broadly available on campus and puts UMass Amherst at the forefront of technological innovation.”