This archived article was written by: Tiffany Cloward
The College of Eastern Utah’s CAD department led by Elias Perez now has a three-dimensional printer that can take a two-dimensional drawing and turn it into an actual plastic prototype of whatever the drawing is.
The first step is to create a two-dimensional drawing on the computer. Then the computer program Inventor turns the two-dimensional drawing into a three dimensional drawing which is then sent to what is called the rapid modeling machine and an actual plastic creation of the drawing is formed. This machine and printer have enabled the drafting students at CEU to not only visualize their ideas, but actually create a prototype of those ideas. Perez states, “This machine enables students to see their creations.”
Perez, the teacher of the three-dimension monitoring class first saw the printer at a workshop that he attended last summer at Southern Utah University. Scott Hansen, Ph.D., the CAD program director for SUU, first introduced Perez to the way that the machine operated. SUU purchased their machine in 2003. The machine itself was introduced to the schools and public between 1999 and 2000.
After seeing what this could do for his students, Perez decided that he had to get one. Perez and his wife then applied for the Perkins Grant to pay for the $24,900 machine. They got approved for only $15,000. Perez then called the company and explained his situation and how much he was able to get financed for. The company then gave Perez a grant for $2,500, and also offered him $5,000 dollars off of a floor model that they had that had never been used. The total cost for the college ended up being $18,700 and he was able to have it shipped to CEU.
Perez is currently working on increasing enrollment and has also been working with Hansen to make it easier for students to transfer to SUU. “There’s a huge demand for these design and drafting skills. I currently have a student working as an intern for Honda Motor Corporation in Ohio,” states Hansen.
For those interested in possibly entering into the CAD program, there are many different majors available. Perez states, “Drafting communicates ideas to the manufacturing community. Engineers give ideas to drafting designers who then draw and create that idea. Everything has to be drawn before it can be created so there are many different fields that a student can go into with these skills.” Some of the majors available are architectural design, mechanical, civil engineering, and graphic information systems.
For more information on the CAD department and classes, students may contact Perez in the CBB, room 113 or check on the CEU website. The 3-D machine is located in the CBB, room 114. This is open to all enrolled students to use and there are model gears available for observation. There is also more information regarding the printer and the SUU CAD department available on the SUU website, which is . Students may also contact Hansen by logging onto www.SUU.edu/cadcam.