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The Designed Objects program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has incorporated 3D printing into their curriculum in a big way; by equipping each student with their own Printrbot Simple. The school had already been lightly incorporating the use of 3D printers into their classrooms when instructor Brian Anderson struck up a conversation with Printrbot. That got the ball rolling and with a little help from Printrbot,Taulman 3D and Simplify 3D the college was able to purchase eleven new 3D printers and start up a unique instructional course for their students. By keeping the class sizes small, each student has unlimited access to their own 3D printer, something that no other college in America can currently claim.

"I conceived of a collaboration intended to marry accessible, low-cost 3D printing – the Printrbot Simple is the world's least expensive 3D printer – with a print material that is readily optimized in terms of print volume and strength – it takes less nylon to achieve high structural integrity and Taulman 3D is actively involved in developing this and other aspects of print output – and lastly a simplified and robust software interface and workflow – Simplify 3D's Creator software," Anderson said.

The Art Institute of Chicago has achieved excellent results with the course so far. The students may not be familiar with 3D printing when they come into the class, but by the time they leave they have a clear understanding of the technology. "What was once black-box technology for most grew into an intimate relationship of understanding, tending, tuning and maintaining with machine and material. The class named the machines, and by the end of the course each bot had a recognizable personality." So far the students have used their new Printrbots to create everything from bobby pins to illuminated sculptures. You can watch a production video here that shows off the in-class process: