New Year Brings New Tech Tools for Hendrix Students

CONWAY, Ark. (January 23, 2014) – Santa Claus left Hendrix students a little something under the tree to discover when they come back for spring 2014 classes – a new MakerBot 3D printer and scanner in the Oathout Technology Center (OTC) inside the Student Life and Technology Center.

“It’s important for our students to be aware of what the state of the art in 3D technology is, what its limitations are, and to know how they may apply their imaginations to create something where nothing existed,” said David J. Hinson, executive vice president and chief information officer. “The entry of 3D printing into the mainstream consciousness is another disruptive technology (like cloud computing and wearable tech) that is changing the way things are designed, made, and distributed.”

“3D printers are a form of additive manufacturing,” he continued. “There are many emerging applications for 3D printing, including printing human organs, printing prototypes for the automobile industry, creating parts for aerospace, and even for printing prosthetics.”

The new 3D printer is the second at Hendrix. The college bought its first 3D printer, currently located in the physics lab, last year. It was purchased with a grant, underwritten by the Hearst Foundation, and is used for science projects, as well as other creative projects on campus, including set design projects for the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. The printer may also be used this spring in digital arts courses, Hinson said.

“These are just the first examples of how we are using the technology in our teaching,” he said, adding that the only limits are the imaginations of faculty members and students.

Hinson hopes the new technology will be an important contribution to an ongoing conversation about living and learning communities at Hendrix and, perhaps, a first step toward a “maker space” or “hacker space” community on campus.

“It is certainly well within Hendrix’s capability to support a maker/hacker community,” he said. “But I also think that we would be well served to keep teaching goals and anticipated outcomes in the forefront of our planning and discussions of maker spaces.”

The new 3D printer and scanner will be available for all students during regular OTC hours. The student cost for 3D printing is ten cents per gram. Students can take their design to the OTC Help Desk to get a time and finished build weight estimate before printing. The college’s 3D printing policy can be found here.

Watch the new 3D printer in action on the OTC’s new DropCam HD streaming internet camera here.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu