Additive manufacturing, colloquially 3D printing, is rising in prominence as a tool to support hands-on “making” education in cornerstone engineering design. While many universities are implementing centrally-located facilities to process printed designs for students, such centers often limit student access to the printers. This, in turn, limits a student’s ability to understand how the manufacturing process influences the viability of printing their digital design. To address this concern, this paper discusses the creation of a flexible, portable making solution that offers students the chance to gain familiarity with the 3D printing process in a way that complements the high throughput offered by centrally located facilities. The proposed making solution incorporates low-cost equipment intended to expose students to a variety of elements associated with 3D printing, including digital design, 3D scanning, print preparation, material extrusion, and manufacturability constraints. The integration of the proposed solution with existing manufacturing lessons and faculty skillsets is also discussed.
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