National Public Radio program related to materials and direct metal fabrication

From: Ranji Vaidyanathan (
Date: Sat Jul 03 1999 - 01:45:25 EEST


I thought that this might be of interest to the general RP community. Today, on National Public Radio (NPR), there was a program called Science Friday, where the guests usually talk about all things related to science and engineering. The guests today were a senior scientist from Wright-Patterson Air Force Lab, Dr. George Siegel, the Director of the Fiber Optics Center at Rutgers University, and another polymer scientist from DuPont. There was a caller who asked the panel a question about rapidly prototyped medical implants and the panel did not know enough to comment on it. The Wright-Patterson person talked about directly fabricated metal parts from CAD files, although he did not call it rapid prototyping. I wonder how good a job we do as a community to popularize RP as a technology among the general population.

On a related note, we got word yesterday that Advanced Ceramics Research (my company) won the R&D 100 award for 1999 for developing a water soluble support material to be used in the Stratasys machines. Stratasys has bought the license to this technology and they own the rights to the technology now.

On another related note, University of Arizona and we collaborated on a summer engineering academy, which is used as a recruitment tool for high school seniors and juniors thinking about entering the engineering profession. I am sure others might have done it too, but we got the high school students to use CAD and design some electric car models, which we then built for them on our FDM machine. The students worked in teams of 5-10 and then used the models to test the drag coefficient of the model cars in a specially designed wind tunnel. We were really amazed by the reaction from these students and everyone of them (there were a total of 80 kids ranging from the 9th grade to 11th grade) said that they want to become engineers! I do not know how long that enthusiasm is going to last, but it was extremely heartening to all of us who designed the program around rapid prototyping. What was even more amazing was that these kids learnt to use CAD in a day and a half! The results of the projects and the model cars are expected to be on the University of Arizona website in a couple of weeks, if anybody is interested to see them. I just thought that the RP community would get a kick out of this whole thing.

Ranji Vaidyanathan
Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc.
Tucson, AZ
(520) 434-6392 (Tel)
(520) 573-2057 (FAX)

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