3D printer donation means hands-on learning

  Monday, May 7, 2018 4:00 PM
  Alumni, News

Pittsburg, KS

3D printer

A new resource donated by a business in Joplin, Missouri, to Pittsburg State's Department of Communication will enable students to apply the skills they are learning in hands-on ways. The possibilities are endless, faculty say. 

A start-up company owned by PSU alumnus Mike Parrot (BS '84) has donated a NemoTech Nautilus 3D printer to the department for use in its theater, journalism, broadcasting, and public relations/advertising programs. The printer was manufactured by Cylotronics, a company owned by PSU alumnus Mark Sullivan (BST '97). 

PSU Associate Professor Alicia Mason, whose specialty is in public relations and advertising, said 3D printing often is used for an array of marketing and advertising purposes — sometimes to reproduce nostalgic promo materials for display, and sometimes integrated into advertising campaigns.  

"In the realm of sports and of travel, for example, companies often produce exclusive files with licensed logos as part of their promotional strategies," Mason said. "The possibilities really are endless."  

She plans to integrate the resource into her classes beginning this fall. 

"I'm both excited and grateful to bring this technology to our students in Strategic Communication. I'm confident their creativity and imagination will bring new and old things to life," Mason said. "Who knows ...we may start with 3D printing a mini-sized 1st Gen version of Gus!"  

Instructor Kristen Livingston said she is elated by the donation and is looking forward to the outcomes of students as they practice with the technology. 

"The possibilities are endless for our students in Communication," Livingston said. "The printer offers an ease for those who are not as tech savvy, but can produce complex parts for class assignments, broadcast and theater productions, and marketing materials." 

Instructor Megan Westhoff said 3D printing has revolutionized theater from the conceptual and design process, as well as the ability to create costume and prop pieces to be incorporated into performances. Including it in the curriculum and productions at Pittsburg State will give students a more diversified experience to prepare for careers. 

"There are no creative limits for printing, including set models, scale furniture for scenic designs, costume elements, headdresses, jewelry, prosthetic limbs, and puppetry pieces," she said. "3D printing offers flexibility and versatility for theatre students to learn about the creative problem-solving and design process. They will be able to learn how to customize pieces that are lightweight, within a short amount of time, and with a limited budget." 

Learn more about the Department of Communication at http://www.pittstate.edu/department/communication/