In the University of Virginia’s rapid prototyping lab, students’ ideas become real, smart machines. UVA’s mechanical and aerospace engineering program embraces mechatronics, which combines mechanical, electronic, computer, software and control engineering with systems-design engineering to create useful products.
In the below video released last spring by assistant professor Gavin Garner, students show off one of the coolest 3D-printed devices I’ve seen: a 2D printer. Students designed and built the mechatronic plotter to prove they could overcome all the challenges of building functional parts, like mating, press fits and tolerances. They named their plotter the HooPrint, after the uPrint 3D Printer that built all of its plastic parts.
In another project, students built a working scale model of a Rolls Royce jet engine with 3D-printed parts. “We couldn’t have accomplished that level of realism without the Stratasys 3D Printer,” said Dwight Dart, design lab engineer at UVA’s rapid prototyping lab.
Read more about the lab and see a photo of the working jet engine model with 3D-printed parts.