3D printing to come to DCU

DCU has teamed up with US firm TechShop in order to bring the latest in 3D printing technology to Ireland.

A workshop containing the 3D printers as well as other advanced equipment will be based at the DCU innovation centre, Invent. It is hoped that this will allow individuals and companies access to equipment that would be far too expensive for them to purchase.

The workshop will contain an array of 3D printers from ones for strictly personal use to machines that can be used in an industrial capacity. As well as the printers TechShop also grants its members access to 3D scanners, laser cutters as well as 3D visualisation software to be used in the design process.

DCU will be one of a number of stakeholders in the workshop with others including corporate entities and state agencies. It is expected that despite the massive cost of establishing such a workshop, DCU will escape a financial hit.

“It is hoped and anticipated that the capital equipment and building costs associated with physically establishing TechShop Dublin will come from central Government grants, corporate donations and philanthropic donations,” said Ronan Furlong, executive director of Invent.

The presence of TechShop in Dublin is seen as an advantage to local technology firms. Certain Irish companies with innovative technologies of their own are already being touted as potential
contributors.

“We would also like to see Louth company Mcor Technologies have a presence with their specialist paper based ‘IRIS’ 3D printer,” said Furlong.

3D printing is the process of creating a solid object from a digital model. The technology is considered to be a revolutionary step for manufacturing. It has been used in architecture, medicine, engineering and fashion as well as many other fields.

TechShop sells memberships to its workshops for a small subscription. Its members can then access equipment and software that would be much too expensive to buy.

The company currently has eight workshops in operation and plans are in place for two more. The TechShop in Ireland will be its first venture outside the United States.

TechShop Dublin is expected to open in early 2015.

By John Casey

Image Credit: artecconstruction.ie

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