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Professor teaches 3D printing to area high schoolers

Object Lab

In the Object Lab, TU students digitally fabricate parts through the use of 3D printers.

A Towson University  faculty member has partnered with local nonprofit leaders to launch the Digital Harbor Tech Center in south Baltimore, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.

Jan Baum, a professor in the Department of Art + Design, leads the university’s cutting-edge Object Lab, where TU students learn 3D modeling and how to digitally fabricate parts and objects with 3D printers and milling machines.

Baum has now brought her expertise in 3D printing to the Digital Harbor Tech Center, a repurposed rec center where K-12 students receive after-school programming and workforce training in writing HTML, developing websites and mobile apps, and digital fabrication.

Through the center, high schoolers are able work with real clients and even earn money that is invested in individual scholarship funds to be made available upon graduation. The end result is knowledgeable, empowered students, who are prepared academically and financially to launch their college careers.

From the Sun:

Another signature program at the tech center is its maker lab, where students will programmatically design and create objects with 3D printers, computer-controlled mills and other digital fabrication tools. Rapid prototyping, customizing parts for businesses or products for consumers, modeling, and illustrating abstract concepts like mathematical models are among the many applications of this emerging technology.

3D printing is, as the name suggests, not unlike printing a letter or picture. But instead of a word processor or image editor and ink applied to paper, you use a modeling program and plastic or metal layered together.

A key advantage, and why the approach is known as additive manufacturing, as opposed to subtractive, is that “You only use the material that you need to use,” said Jan Baum, director of Towson University’s Object Lab and creator of the center’s 3D printing curriculum.

Read the full Baltimore Sun story here.


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