STF Spotlight: Student Rapid Prototyping Machines
The joint FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is a great place to learn modern and cutting-edge engineering skills. Since the college was created, research and development have been among the top priorities for the students.
Within the college, students are given access to rapid prototyping support machinery to build their projects. Housed in the chemical and biomedical engineering department lab, this machinery includes two devices. The first is an Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer that allows students to get high resolution prototyping, and the second machine functions as a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine and a printed circuit board plotter that allows students to mill different types of metal instruments and circuit boards.
Funded by the Student Technology Fee, these machines are available to all engineering students, but are used frequently by students enrolled in senior design to aid in creating their projects.
Morgan Cerekwicki, a graduating senior in the college, uses both the milling machine and the SLA 3D printer. For her senior design project, she is tasked with creating a hearing aid for infants. “Making a product that we can actually see is vital, especially if we’re going to be comparing it to FDA-standards to be able to test them on site.” One thing Morgan loves about these devices is that they are accessible to everybody. Students can walk into a lab, use what they need and ask for help from professors.
Chay Vibhute, a master’s student in the college, expresses the importance of these machines, “This is the capstone of our major, so this is the culmination of our learning. The use of this machine is integral in our project.” With the milling machine, students can create something as simple as a bottle opener or as complex as a 3D shape that can be molded into a medical device, like Chay is doing for his project. “We are building a prosthetic sensor that senses volume change in the residual limb, better known as the stump of an amputee’s leg.”
Teaching faculty for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Dr. Steven Hugo Arce, enjoys giving his students an opportunity to create physical prototypes where students can then test their designs. “They have to go through the challenge of actually making something and seeing whether it works—collecting data and making sure that the data actually matches up with their calculations that they’ve made.”
Others within the department also help make this opportunity possible for the students. The lab engineer, Emily Hubicki, helps prepare the student tech fee grants and manages the lab space, making it accessible to all who need it. Another member of the teaching faculty in the department of chemical and biomedical engineering, Dr. Thourson provides the foundation for students to learn using these machines with his innovative teaching inside the classroom.
Working with these rapid prototyping machines gives engineering students the opportunity to collaborate on projects similar to what they would do on the job or in a clinical environment.
To learn more about the different student rapid prototyping machines and see some of the work FSU students have created, visit the ITS YouTube channel.