The grant gave Michael Lawrence, an educator in the engineering department at QCC, a complex task: outfit the lab with 3D printing equipment local businesses could use to collaborate with students, and validate cost and time savings with 3D printed parts. To meet this demand, QCC needed systems with advanced capabilities to produce high quality, strong and visually appealing parts. Engineering students needed high-performance materials able to withstand high-heat applications, friction and final assembly processes, but students also needed to design parts with smooth finishes and color options to validate new design concepts. Above all, the technology had to stay evergreen — it couldn’t become obsolete.
For Lawrence and QCC students, the complementary functionality and unmatched capabilities of both FDM and PolyJet technology would ensure the technology would remain relevant for years to come. “To maximize our budget and impact we focused on the most sophisticated 3D printers possible,” said Lawrence. “If we don’t have state-of-the-art equipment, there’s no reason for businesses to come to us.” QCC now has a Fortus 450mc, which can create rugged, impact-resistant, functional parts in production-grade thermoplastics, and has the ability to build with bio-compatible materials; and the Stratasys J750 3D printer, which yields high-resolution models for design verification or ultra-realistic training models.