WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains' Digital Arts Experience (DAE) has reached a new dimension of learning after its purchase of what is being hailed as one of the most important technological advancements of the century.
The organization is the new owner of a 3D printer, or, more specifically, the MakerBot Replicator 2.
Produced by MakerBot, a 3D-printing company based in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Replicator 2 takes digitally rendered models, then uses plastic in a process called extrusion, in which it runs plastic filament through a heated nozzle and extrudes it in a very fine stream to build the object layer by layer until it has produced a completed 3D replica.
"In as little as 10 minutes or a number of hours you've got a physical object," said Rob Kissner, president of DAE.
Not only does the printer create replicas, it can also reproduce mechanical objects -- complete with moving, functioning parts.
It has even recreated a functioning prosthetic hand for under $5.
"We've printed things with working hinges and gears. We don't even have to print them separately and assemble them. We print them in one piece," he said.
Though the 3D printer has made its way to space to help astronauts build tools, Kissner hopes to use the $2,000 printer to change the life of the average person.
"We want to teach Westchester [the 3D printer's] place in the world. We want it to be a tool to facilitate problem-solving and analytical thinking in our students," he said.
According to Kissner, DAE used the printer most recently to solve one of its own problems, in which the facility received 250 rolls of toilet paper that did not fit the holders in the bathroom.
Instead of sending the paper back, they designed and printed new toilet paper holders to fit both the new toilet paper rolls and standard ones.
"That is what we want to teach our students," he said.
MakerBot plans to open retail stores for the printers in the future, but until then, DAE plans on hosting informational sessions, workshops, individual classes and longer, multi-part courses on the machine and its uses.
Their first event, a live demonstration, will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
DAE is at 170 Hamilton Ave., Suite 100.
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