3D printed chess set

An innovative 3D printing venture at Atlantic University College

  • Education

With support from students knowledgeable in 3D modeling and CAD software, Professor Vicente Gasco has set out to send 3D printing-savvy graduates into the working world through courses featuring the latest technologies.

Tech-focused community mission

Located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Atlantic University College is a non-profit higher education organization with a history of preparing students for ever-changing technologies. The school is known for offering the first Bachelor’s degree in Videogame Design and Programming in Puerto Rico, with about 75% of the gaming workforce including Atlantic University College alumni. Keeping an eye on the future of business technology, one of the next moves for Atlantic University College was to offer the first 3D printing class in Puerto Rico, furthering the school’s quest to inspire tomorrow’s tech leaders.

Frog dissection print
Students Zohary Oquendo and Bryan Berdecia created and printed an animal and kid-friendly substitute for live animals used in dissections. Photo credit: Joshua Montalvo

Though Vicente teaches mostly at an Undergraduate level with a focus on product prototyping, his class serves as an introduction to a broader spectrum of topics in additive manufacturing. Students have access to training on software, applications, hardware, and different 3D printing methods from desktop printers to industrial machines.

It was very important to let students have access to the printers. Keeping the lab up to date and running is very important so deadlines are met and projects end successfully. 

With a strong belief in “learning by doing,” Vicente’s class includes a month-long project proposed by the students that they must see through from start to finish in the additive manufacturing process. He understands the importance of prototyping iterations within 3D printing and digital fabrication; something the students are able to incorporate into their projects with direct access to Ultimaker machines.

Reliability and consistency with Ultimaker

Vicente has about five years of personal 3D printing experience, having worked nearly every day with 3D printers. When he proposed a Fabrication Lab to the college, they were open to the idea and understood the value such processes could bring to the school’s eager learners. Ultimaker’s reputation initially drew him to the printers as an option for the school, Vicente says, along with the user-friendly interface of the machines.

Easy maintenance, ease of use, and reliability are very important and when you’re experienced in the industry, you can tell those have been focus points for Ultimaker. 

As the industry has evolved in the last few years, Vicente knows that having reliable, consistent printers is increasingly important for educators. This is invaluable, he says, for long prints and numerous prototyping iterations in a class full of passionate students.

Samsung base design print
A stand designed by student Jeremy Muñiz that holds a Samsung S6 Edge smartphone, as well as the smartphone's wireless charger. Photo credit: Joshua Montalvo

To accommodate various student projects, Vicente purchased two Ultimaker 2 printers and upgraded them to Ultimaker 2+ machines for greater flexibility. In the future, he hopes to grow that collection of printers to include Ultimaker 3 for the added benefit of dual extrusion that the students can use in their month-long projects.

Time and money-saving solution

As the Ultimaker 2+ machines are mostly used for organic shapes and character-related designs at Atlantic University College, the students find that the printers handle supports and large prototypes with ease. Though they mostly print with PLA and ABS, Vicente has also used PET and other flexible materials. He’s excited about the possibility of acquiring an Ultimaker 3 for using PVA supports and trying new materials that provide design flexibility for the busy class. There’s no shortage of enthusiasm at the college—the printers run daily 4-5 days per week, sometimes overnight, allowing Vicente and his students to experience measurable benefits first-hand.

The better you can trust the printer with the job without constantly checking up on them, the more time you can focus on other tasks.

Cost and time savings are two of the biggest benefits they’ve seen so far, with faster print time accelerating projects in the classroom. They’ve also noticed higher part quality with Ultimaker through consistency and better layer adhesion, as well as enhanced workflow optimization overall. These benefits offer unmatched reliability when it comes to successful prints for prototypes that the students take from ideation to finished product.

Rubiks Cube 3D print
A texture-based Rubik’s Cube for the visually impaired created by student Ramphis Rios. Photo credit: Joshua Montalvo

Other students and faculty members at Atlantic University College are eager to use the Ultimaker printers too, especially the Graphic Design and Animation department. In addition to students from various programs incorporating 3D printing into their class projects and entrepreneurial journeys, members of the community are also welcome to access the machines for school-sponsored printing projects.

Empowering community educators

Vicente has seen exciting and inspiring projects come from the program so far. One student in particular designed and fabricated hand tools for a neighbor with arthritis, creating durable and more reliable plastic parts with better grips. Not only did she learn a lot about additive manufacturing through the design and printing process, but also she made an impact that extended beyond the classroom—a worthwhile lesson learned through real-world application.

I believe that with 3D printing it is possible to give hands-on experience on what students can expect from their careers, especially if they work in teams. 

Working in teams and coordinating fabrication is an important part of the learning process at the school, as is the opportunity for students to work through trial and error with their prototypes. “3D printing helps them trust the process and learn that a successful idea might take several prototypes,” Vicente says. “It is a continuous learning process and hopefully they can learn how that extends to all branches of life, both personal and professional.” He hopes that as 3D printers become faster, he’ll be able to reach even more students with enhanced efficiency and greater output capabilities.

Wheelchair phone grip
Phone grip designed for a wheelchair designed by student Gustavo Agosto. Photo credit: Joshua Montalvo

At the core of additive manufacturing is 3D modeling, Vicente says, with 95% of student projects depending on 3D modeling skillsets. In addition to using Ultimaker Cura, they tap into programs like Maya, Rhino, Fusion 360, ZBrush, and Meshmixer. These tools are essential to the 3D printing process as students must be able to materialize their ideas from imagination to print.

Looking ahead to the future of 3D printing, Vicente knows that the biggest challenge for educators is devising their own exercises and solutions to problems. He hopes that communication and collaboration within the educational community will allow for further development of 3D printing curriculum so that other schools can take advantage of everything digital fabrication has to offer.

Check out our Explore pages for more stories on 3D printing applications in education!

3D printing in education

The main image in this story includes chess pieces designed by student Michael Madera, photographed by Joshua Montalvo.

Read more customer success stories

  • Ultimaker-idea-reality

    Idea Reality: Rapid prototyping and the art of failing forward

    Product design and development studio Idea Reality is using 3D printing to reduce costs and save time in bringing consumer-targeted projects to market.

    Schubert-Ultimaker

    Schubert: A digital warehouse for on-demand manufacturing

    Schubert uses 3D printing to deliver tools for its future-proof, high-performance packaging machines, making them even more versatile and easy to operate.

    Ultimaker and Killa Design

    Killa Design: 3D printing the buildings of tomorrow

    Killa Design uses 3D printing to create iconic designs that are fast becoming landmarks – including one of the most complex structures ever built.

  • heineken-ultimaker-ensuring-production-continuity-with-3d-printing

    Heineken: Ensuring production continuity with 3D printing

    Learn how Heineken increased line uptime and efficiency at its Seville brewery using 3D printing to create custom safety devices, tooling, and functional parts.

    Reducing costs and improving efficiency

    Reducing costs and improving efficiency with the Ultimaker S5

    IMI Precision Engineering, a leader in motion and fluid control technologies, use 3D printing to help create solutions that provide speed and precision for machinery.

    Ultimaker S5 at Health+Design Lab

    Enhancing patient care with 3D printing at Jefferson Health

    Jefferson Health, a hospital system located in Philadelphia, is at the forefront of healthcare technology, have integrated 3D printing into their Health+ Design Lab.

  • 3D-printed-mold-cores-on-Ultimaker-S5-build-plate-hero

    3D printing custom refractory mold cores for industrial ceramics

    Discover how a Czech industrial ceramics supplier benefits from Ultimaker 3D printers to create bespoke 3D printed refractory mold cores.

    Ultimaker-Ford-36

    Ford: Reinventing efficient manufacturing using 3D printing

    Ford has been working on creating an optimized workflow to create jigs, tools, and fixtures for Ford’s manufacturing process.

    royal netherlands

    Royal Netherlands Air Force: Speeding up maintenance with 3D printed tools

    The Ultimaker 3D printers help mechanics of the Royal Netherlands Air Force to speed up the maintenance of helicopters, fighter jets and large cargo planes.

  • Rosewood Bangkok

    Transforming the face of architectural design with 3D printing at KPF

    The role of physical models within the architectural design process has evolved over the past few years. At firms like Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) desktop 3D printers enhance the day-to-day iterations of design and the three-dimensional understanding.

    Owens Corning XSTRAND™

    Owens Corning: Creating the perfect material profiles for customers’ solutions

    To help customers get the best out of the XSTRAND™ range, Owens Corning collaborated with the engineers at Ultimaker to create optimized material profiles that are now available in Ultimaker Cura.

    Ultimaker at New Lab

    New Lab innovators print their way to faster iterations and design freedom

    In an era when startup incubators and co-working spaces spin up as a matter of course in densely populated urban centers, New Lab offers a fresh take on what it means to bring people and companies together to work under one large roof.

  • Florenradic Ultimakera 3

    Producing customized fashion solutions with Ultimaker 3D printers

    Florenradica is a design company fabricating prototypes and end-use parts for fashion houses. After discovering 3D printing, they were interested in exploring it further, as it allowed them to realize products that were not possible with CNC machines.

    Assembly9

    BOSEbuild: Accelerating design and testing phases with 3D printed parts

    Learn how BOSEbuild took advantage of Ultimaker 3D printers to quickly and seamlessly prototype their latest build-it-yourself headphones, saving time and money through in-house iterations.

    Ultimaker at Make Architects 1

    Make Architects: From 3D print to award-winning building

    Learn how Make Architects have transformed their model-making and prototyping process thanks to a suite of Ultimaker desktop 3D printers.

  • NYU-Tandon

    Empowering student innovation at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

    The NYU Tandon School of Engineering is more than just a resource for students who want to learn about the technology of today and tomorrow. It prepares students to be motivated and self-sufficient when tackling science and engineering issues.

    3D printing for product development

    3D printing for product development to cut costs and save time

    Hartfiel Automation is a specialized high-tech provider of pneumatics, motion, and mobile control solutions. With the addition of an Ultimaker 3D printer to their product development process, Hartfiel Automation was able to save time and money while diversifying their services with product offerings...

    Ultimaker S5

    The Ultimaker S5 is here

    We are proud to announce our most advanced 3D printer yet – the Ultimaker S5. Built for the office, the Ultimaker S5 is a powerful, reliable, and versatile 3D printer that delivers industrial-class results.

  • 3D printing prototypes to save money and minimize risk

    3D printing prototypes to save money and minimize risk

    NoiseAware, the startup behind a noise monitoring and management system for high-risk, short-term rental properties, designed and prototyped their product with their in-house Ultimaker 3 printer. Saving thousands on the initial prototyping process for all parts, the NoiseAware team is able to create...

    Elizabeth-tilburg-96-optimized-cropped

    Research on the benefits of 3D printing in a trauma hospital

    3D printing is seeing increasingly widespread adoption in the medical field. It has already been used to visualize bone fractures, but pioneering researchers believe it can also be used to help treat trauma patients.

    Fittle IVPEI

    3D printed puzzle breaks down braille barriers

    For visually impaired people, learning to read braille is essential. But for many, braille learning devices are either too costly or ineffective. Now a 3D printed puzzle is making this vital skill accessible to all.

  • Iris-van-Herpen-Exhibit

    A study in innovative design at the Cincinnati Art Museum

    Dedicated to promoting inventive art-related exhibits and programs, the Cincinnati Art Museum is exploring the relationship between 3D printing and fashion by highlighting the work of designer Iris van Herpen.

    Astronaut Necklace Stern Design Works Model

    3D printing and the jewelry boutique: A model for small business success

    Cameron and Rebecca Stern, co-creators of Stern Design Works, bring together their innovative approach to traditional jewelry manufacturing with a fleet of Ultimaker professional desktop 3D printers.

    Cassiopeia A and SN 1987a 3D models by NASA CXC K.Arcand

    Exploring our galaxy – and beyond – with 3D printing

    With the help of 3D printing, the communication team at NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory makes it possible for inquisitive learners of all ages to hold supernovas right in the palm of their hand.

  • sylatech-header

    Casting metal parts for prototyping from 3D prints

    Sylatech uses Ultimaker 3D printers to optimize their metal casting prototyping process. The accelerated placement of tooling orders and reduced number of tooling modifications result in significant time- and cost savings.

    Cost-efficient, functional prototypes for small bore motorcycle parts

    Cost-efficient, functional prototypes for small bore motorcycle parts

    With Ultimaker, MNNTHBX found a more efficient way to design and produce prototyped parts in the small bore motorcycling industry. By switching from traditional methods of manufacturing to 3D printing, the team replaced dozens of hours at the CNC mill and saw a 90% reduction in raw material cost.

    jessica joosse designer 3D printing

    3D printing and the future of personalized fashion

    For designer Jessica Joosse, the fourth industrial revolution is transforming fashion, and an Ultimaker 3D printer is the perfect tool to explore possibilities.

  • farmshelf

    Farmshelf: Cost-effective custom parts for an urban farm system

    By using Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers, Farmshelf was able to iterate designs and print hundreds of custom parts; far more quickly than other methods of fabrication.

    3D Printed Texas Bridge

    Taking architecture from dream to design with 3D printing

    3D printed architectural models do more than simply provide tangible build site plans. These 3D prints show clients how key architectural features can bring the entire design to life.

    3D printed chess set

    An innovative 3D printing venture at Atlantic University College

    With support from students knowledgeable in 3D modeling and CAD software, Professor Vicente Gasco has set out to send 3D printing-savvy graduates into the working world through courses featuring the latest technologies.

  • HERO - Faulkner scale model with sky Faulkner 00

    Faulkner Industrial: 3D printing the future of architectural design

    Thanks to a streamlined digital-to-physical pipeline and a reliable Ultimaker desktop 3D printer, Faulkner Industrial is able to deliver architectural scale models at a fraction of the cost and turnaround time compared to competitors.

    Morrill 3D print Ultimaker

    St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day Maker Lab: Inspiring through innovation

    By providing a space for students to design, iterate, and print objects from their own imaginations, the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day Maker Lab is able to amplify the learning experience in meaningful, impactful ways. Keep reading to learn more.

    MIT Launch Students using Ultimaker

    Entrepreneurship at MIT Launch: 3D printing for the future

    The minds behind MIT Launch understand that there are limitless possibilities for 3D printing. By challenging students and encouraging innovation through the latest technologies, Launch is preparing young minds for the challenges that lay ahead.

  • 3D printing fashion heels store

    Eram heels: 3D printing personalized shoes in-store

    Have you ever been shopping for shoes and found it hard to get exactly the style you want? Now, with the help of a couple of Ultimaker 3D printers, fashion retailer Eram and Unistudio design studio are giving customers the power to create their own heels.

    Snow Business

    Snow Business: 3D printing final parts for high-value snow machines

    Snow Business is the world leader in snow and winter effects. The company uses their Ultimaker 3D printers for prototyping, functional testing, and creating final parts for their snow machines.

    Gantri team with Ultimakers

    Gantri: Shedding light on unique 3D printed designs

    Prototyped and manufactured with an Ultimaker 2 Extended+ print farm, Gantri products celebrate traditional techniques bolstered by new technologies that save time and money for a passionate community of designers.