FIU Opens CARTA Design Lab with 3D Printing Technology


 FIU Opens CARTA Design Lab with 3D Printing Technology

With bleeding edge technology, being the first isn’t always best. Technology that requires education before adoption or which can be cost inhibitive due to expensive or complicated hardware, usually takes time to become scalable for the average consumer.  For the past few years, 3D printing has been teetering on the fine line between science fiction and the mass market, but on September 29th, the Florida International University (FIU) will revolutionize – and possibility eliminate – that line.




FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) will be the first university in the United States to open a design lab dedicated to creation enabled by 3D printing. In partnership with Stratasys, the design lab will feature a MakerBot Innovation Center equipped with desktop 3D printers exclusively for student use and collaboration. Brian Schriner, the College’s Dean, explains, “this new creative space will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by exploring the intersection of arts, design, and technology.”


Bringing 3D printing into the classroom is one of the quickest ways to encourage adoption and explore the broader educational and business applications of this technology. CARTA’s Innovation Center will likely be the first of many such design labs as educators and executives begin seeing the revolutionary output this next generation of engineers and designers will unleash through 3D printing.





But FIU and MakerBot aren’t the only names in the industry making 3D printing more accessible. The MCOR Iris 3D paper printer uses standard copy paper to create full-color, 3D printed objects. Harnessing such a ubiquitous, inexpensive material to generate 3D creations makes this technology affordable and accessible in a way it never was before. Traditional 3D printers require material such as nylon or Kelvar® to bring creations to life. Once printed, plastic-based parts need to be cured with harsh, and sometimes toxic chemicals, before being sanded or dyed, making the process arduous and expensive.


MCOR founders Fintan and Conor MacCormack created 3D paper printing (or selective deposition lamination) to speed up the adoption process and streamline creation. Because MCOR Iris 3D printers use paper instead of plastic to print, 3D parts can now be printed in full-scale brilliant colors and do not require harmful chemicals to finish. This makes 3D printing safer for the average user and more environmentally friendly and sustainable.





Breakthroughs like MCOR’s paper printing technique or the opening of FIU’s design lab represent a new era for 3D printing and education. At FIU, students expressed excitement over the possibility of using 3D printing to transform their learning experience. John Stuart, Associate Dean for Cultural and Community Engagement notes that the CARTA design lab has applications “ranging from architecture students who want to use MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers to reimagine urban landscapes and showcase models, to art students who are designing 3D printed musical instruments.”


Whether educators use MCOR Iris 3D paper printers to create functional biology models or engineers use desktop 3D printers to explore rapid prototyping techniques, the possibilities are not only endless … but now truly accessible. 3D printing is finally here and in the hands of our future, now we can just wait and see what they create.

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  • Dustin Heigl
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