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3-D Printers (Prototyping Machinery) in the Mechanical Engineering Department

The inside of the Stratasys with a completed model

Inside of the V-Flash Desktop modeler that builds from the top down, with the models hanging off of a build board. The photos below are also from the V-Flash system and illustrate the curing process. In this stage, the model is solidifying the actual modeling material, making it more rigid.

Interior of Flash machine with model. Flash machine, model seen through window.

Two views of V-Flash Desktop Modeler used for rapid prototyping. See video for more information.

In February of 2005, Dr. Tom Krueger, a Senior Lecturer teaching Engineering Computer Graphics in the Mechanical Engineering Department, received an equipment grant of $58,700 for two Stratasys BST—3-D printers. They have been used extensively to produce prototypes for the ME302 (syllabus) reverse engineering project as well as for the senior capstone project and biomedical engineering models.

After five years of use and with the advancement of technology, funds were requested to either replace or supplement our existing equipment. On April 14, 2009 Dr. Krueger requested funding to replace the aging Stratasys machines.

On October 6, 2009 the Office of the Provost awarded him $66,233 to purchase new 3-D printers. This enabled him to acquire one Stratasys SST machine that has a soluble support material. This is a significant advancement over the BST machine because the support material had to be pealed off with instruments and tools that carried a risk of injury. With these funds he was also able to acquire the two 3D system V-Flash machines that give the department prototyping versatility. The University of Texas at Austin Department of Mechanical Engineering is now equipped to give students a broader range of prototypes that fit their prototyping needs.


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