When Scott Houtchens, BSEN ’16, got the assignment to create a simple gear assembly for his 3D printing class, inspiration struck.
“Our design goal was to create something that contained interlocking pieces and moved,” he says. “I decided to take a creative route.”
Houtchens’ creativity came to him in the form of a bird, one that would flap its wings when a lever was pulled.
“I was sitting on my couch at home and it just came into my head,” he recounts, adding that he quickly sketched a design on paper before entering it into Solidworks, a three-dimensional software design program.
The entire process took only a matter of hours. Houtchens brought the design the next day to his professor, Steve Chomyszak, and they headed to the Manufacturing Center. The 3D printing process took roughly a day, followed by two days of soaking the bird in a chemical bath to remove excess plastic. Chomyszak believes projects like Houtchens’s perfectly combine ingenuity with creativity while using a cutting-edge technology.
“3D printing is important because it allows all students from various engineering disciplines to partake in the making aspect of learning,” says Chomyszak.
Says Houtchens: “If you can think it, you can print it.”