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University launches 3D printer

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THE University of the South Pacific yesterday launched its first 3D printer.

USP's head of school for Engineering and Physics Dr Atul Raturi said the printer that cost $45,000 would give a third dimension to physical objects.

"What we've been printing up until now is two dimensions. We have a paper which has a length and width but it has no height," Dr Raturi said.

"So this printer takes a third dimension. If you print a letter, the letter will have thickness also."

Dr Raturi said the printer would benefit students, especially those in engineering and architecture.

"Our engineering students or architectural students do a lot of computer-based modelling. A lot of time they just look at the screen and see them but they really can't touch the design.

"With the 3D printer, they can design, print it out, hold it and test it."

Objects are printed using ceramic powder which is also recyclable, and takes hours to print one object. Dr Raturi said it took an hour for an object to grow an inch.

"The possibilities are endless. The 3D printer became very popular in the last four years and USP is thrilled that we finally have one that can take studying at the university to another level.

"We would also like to talk to the business community who do design work, we would be happy to collaborate with them and we would like more work coming out of this printer."

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