Stratasys Blog

Students 3D Print a 2D Printer

uPrint 3D printer used by UVA engineering students to print a 2D printer.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.

Jesse Roitenberg


  • On that final part it would be exceptional if these 3D printers could print metal or some other conductor to print out circuits to make the model a circuit board. I know that was a 2D printer and that lead can do that already, but I’ve seen other materials behave like copper track, which are printed right from an ink jet nozzel that should find their way into 3D designs as a next stage.

    • Hello Samuel,

      Yes, there are systems out there that can produce metals, but right now for many they are cost prohibitive. I have seen groups printing the the boards (of the circuit boards) with our equipment, but then to make the model conductive they are using a equipment to accurately create a path (by drilling) that they then place a liquid metal. The metal cools and they are in business. Truly exciting, but there currently are multiple steps to getting to the working printed circuit board.

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