Improve Learning Through Activities Outside of the Classroom

Published in:

A National Symposium

November 20–21, 2015

New York University
Washington, D.C.

The 3D Printing Design To Print Project at Farmingdale State College has a similar mission as our college, which is to serve the region and state by developing an educated skilled workforce, and to advance applied learning and problem solving to promote social justice. The 3D Print Club promotes content-based knowledge, applied research skills and techniques, problem solving skills, and effective oral and written communication skills, in addition to fostering bonds between students, faculty, departments, and the institution, which will aid in students’ professional development.

Farmingdale State College’s 3D Print Club has partnered with E-Nable (, a global network of passionate volunteers, to create 3D-printed prosthetic hands for needy children around the world. Students in 3D Print Club learn collaboratively and develop time management skills while meeting hand-production deadlines. They exhibit a deeper respect for the real world usefulness of training in aiding members of their community and the world. The Club was founded by the club advisors, including the author, who were involved in obtaining the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Grant. The grant serves a total of 60 disadvantaged students each year, 20 from each of three high needs high schools on Long Island: Freeport HS, Uniondale HS, and Wyandanch HS. The P-Tech program is administered by Dr. F. Federman at Farmingdale State College.

We started with the 3D Print Summer Camp Additive Manufacturing Learning Program P-Tech, a hands-on educational experience in 3D printing for high school students. Good ideas and efforts at social justice are contagious and we should encourage them to blossom in many directions. They blossomed at Farmingdale State College, which then created the 3D Print Club on campus under the advisement of Dr. Jill O’Sullivan (the author) with students that were experienced with 3D printing, some of whom now work at the 3D Print Camp every year in support of P-Tech. What began as a P-Tech community outreach activity designed to inspire disadvantaged high school kids to get excited about education has now evolved into a Farmingdale State College co-curricular activity, where our college students are using 3D printing to make prosthetic hands that they assemble and donate to E-Nable.

Students experience content-based learning in 3D printing, CAD (computer aided design), critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving skills. Our students are reaching beyond the classroom to make a big difference together for disabled children by being a part of a global network of volunteers using 3D printing to give the world a “helping hand.” Farmingdale State College students are taking a leadership role to procure scholarships and grants and to present at conferences. They are writing grants with their advisor to receive additional money for more 3D printers and materials to meet the current need of E-Nable for 30 prosthetic hands. The 3D Printing Design To Print Club and other 3D projects at FSC aim to help students learn more about the manufacturing process called 3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing. This club has helped a Farmingdale State College initiative that is coordinating 3D printing projects with plans that include offering workshops, classes, and seminars for students and local businesses. A dedicated lab space has been established in the computer systems department. Students started working with the Half Hills Library last semester to print prosthetic hands for E-Nable. The project with E-Nable has invigorated our students at Farmingdale State College to the extent that they want it to be the main focus of the 3D Print Club.

This 3D Printing Design To Print Club allows Farmingdale State College to take another leap forward to drive innovation, enhance manufacturing, foster entrepreneurial efforts, keep and add jobs right here by using these cutting-edge technologies. The project’s goal is to stimulate interest in 3D printing technology and ultimately create an industry-collaborative 3D Print Lab. The lab’s goal is to get more student entrepreneurs versed in the possibilities of 3D printing, and to facilitate interaction between students and alumni and local business owners who are already using the technology. Through this project effort and the 3D Printing Club, students are preparing business plans to compete in the NY State Business Plan Competition and Farmingdale State Alumni Grant (FSAG).

The 3D Design To Print Project has collaborated with the Interim President, Executive Director of the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT), Bill Wahliq, about coordinating activities, tours, and educational events with their newly created Composite Prototyping Center, or CDC, in Plainview. The CDC is a total resource for manufacturers seeking entry into the growing market of 3D printing. The Design to Print Project will synergistically align with LIFT’S activities and invite guest speakers like Bill Wahliq to the college for guidance and lecture series. Farmingdale State College, through Dr. O’Sullivan, brought the P-Tech 3D Printer Summer Camp students to visit the CDC. These students were able to observe LIFT’s large 3D printers and additive technology to better understand the “living lab.” The Design to Print Project will allow Farmingdale students desiring to enter the IT and manufacturing technology fields to get a closer look at the technology at LIFT. The CDC and the Design to Print Project will be a source of interns doing joint company-funded research. LIFT’s CDC is linked to our college through their mission statement. Both the project and LIFT’s CDC believe that New York State can and should move ahead to capture a significant portion of this expanding market. The Design to Print Project was developed in recognition of the growing demand for and opportunities in advanced manufacturing. Leading companies are now using 3D printing to evaluate more concepts in less time to improve decisions during product development. Some of the Design to Print Project’s objectives will support the E-Nable and CDC goals established through NY State to provide companies with an essential trained workforce to meet the advanced manufacturing supply chain needs of prime contractors.

The Design to Print project will establish a resource for 3D printing production for application across diverse markets, from aerospace, automotive, and defense to energy. Future ideas concerning bio printing could be an extension of this activity depending on resources. The project envisions the development of a multilevel curriculum addressing workforce development. The 3D Printing Design To Print Project hopes to secure additional grants to facilitate growth and development, which will compliment and support the goals of the development of additional facilities within New York State at Farmingdale State College.

Students from the computer systems, business management, engineering, visual communications, architecture, and other departments will work together to create original models, design products in CAD, as well as use downloadable models that can be printed in real time. The 3D Printing Club has initiated proposals under the guidance of Dr. Jill O’Sullivan to acquire funding for the 3D printers, CAD software, and materials they will need to promote and teach students about the concepts and practices of this manufacturing process. This project of the newly established 3D Printing Club will offer the opportunity for students from all different educational backgrounds to have a hands-on experience with this technology. 3D printing will provide a service to society for years to come; this is the next industrial revolution and is reshaping the manufacturing industry as a whole. Many manufacturers on Long Island use 3D printing. Many will be coming to campus as guests to promote their process, materials, and products. This aligns with Farmingdale State College’s mission by exposing students to processes and materials they are not exposed to currently, as well as to those companies in industry that use these processes and materials.

This project will enrich student collaboration by holding joint events with the 3D Printing, APICS, and Engineering clubs, as well as industry participants. Such co-curricular activities will revolve around visiting the CDC and the 3D printer show in New York City. Combining the student clubs will exemplify the diverse academic interests that 3D printing will bring to this effort. A website has been created with a blog for information sharing about each 3D printer activity. A newsletter is being created. The website will capture and calculate assessment of student learning and retention based on a weekly plan of structured activities ( The website will promote industry-student collaboration with these projects. These prepared students can then assist the P-Tech Summer 3D Printing Camp project. These students plan on bringing this new skill set to local high schools and elementary schools to showcase what this project is doing as well as to stimulate student interest in Farmingdale State. The results of this project will be set forth in conference papers and proceedings and will be presented by faculty and students. The Design To Print Project will run from April 1, 2015, to May 30, 2016. It will be promoted at our open house in April through the computer systems department, which will encourage future student’s interest in Farmingdale State College.

The project will allow students to examine different types of 3D printing through presentations, slide shows, and textbook-related materials. Students will learn the past and future of the industry, as well as an introduction to CAD and 3D modeling. We will be downloading already made printable designs, as well as designing 3-dimensional models from scratch and bringing them to life by printing them through 3D printers.

The 3D Design To Print Project will showcase and make available these tools to students. The Design To Print Project at Farmingdale State College will provide our students a valuable skill not always found at the college level: hands-on industrial design experience using high-end 3D printers. We’re attempting to train workforce leaders who have the ability to apply these skills across industries. They’re going to be heads and shoulders above others who may only have a general education background. We have acquired the support of Jan Bloom, an expert in the field of 3D printing at Towson University.

The interdisciplinary nature of the Design To Print Lab is meant to provide students with a diverse set of skills to prepare them to work in any number of fields. For Dr. O’Sullivan, it’s essential that her students can find work after graduation.

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Spring 2016: Advancing Social Justice from Classroom to Community