UWF IT Academy and partners bring 3-D printing to Fort Walton Beach campus library
Students and faculty of the University of West Florida as well as the general public now have the opportunity to experience 3-D printing services in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, as a result of a new partnership between the UWF IT Academy, UWF Department of Engineering and Fort Walton Beach Campus Library.
The public 3-D printing project is an extension of the UWF IT Academy’s efforts to maintain a technologically skilled and competitive workforce, in conjunction with the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County and the Technology Coast Manufacturing and Engineering Network– a group of interconnected companies and institutions representing these industries.
“By offering 3-D printing services, the UWF IT Academy hopes to encourage manufacturing and engineering growth in Okaloosa County,” said Nicole Gislason, director of the academy. “Members of the community will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with a 3-D printer and 3-D design software.”
UWF offers this technology to the public to engage in self-directed 3-D design and printing, Gislason explains. Software resources, including the popular solid modeling computer-aided design program SolidWorks, are installed on each library computer – providing a platform from which a prototype may be developed in a short period of time.
Classes in SolidWorks are available online and during various workshops throughout the year. There is no age limit for use of the 3-D printer, but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Usage times for the 3-D printer are during regular library hours, with 11 total time slots available each week.
“Having 3-D printer training, printing and prototyping capabilities available to our TeCMEN members at UWF on the Emerald Coast in Fort Walton Beach will enable many local companies to significantly upgrade their skill levels and capabilities,” said TeCMEN Manager Jim Brietenfeld. “We are thrilled to have UWF as a strong supporter and industry partner in our area.”
To learn more about the 3-D printing project in Fort Walton Beach, please visit uwf.edu/fwb3d.