LANSING — How does an entrepreneur or inventor take an idea, find a manufacturer and pay for the large costs of a prototype so that they can then test and display to investors and banks? It takes a lot of time, resources, and money.
But with Lansing’s new 3-D printer, an idea can be transformed into a functional prototype in a matter of hours, and through LEAP, entrepreneurs and inventors now have access to this “Star Trek” like machine.
“3-D printing is being hailed by many as the future of manufacturing and entrepreneurial technology. This program will put Greater Lansing at the forefront of creating an aggressive entrepreneurial environment,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “This machine will provide an outlet for companies, their employees, and citizens alike, to literally take the ideas they have in their head and create working prototypes.”
The printer, which was jointly purchased with funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Incubator Grant Program and the Lansing Economic Development Corp., is housed at Lansing Community College’s West Campus and is part of a collaborative effort with LCC and LEAP to help area companies and citizens bring their ideas for new products to fruition. In addition to providing space to house the printer, LCC has committed to assisting users of the program to help facilitate the basic Computer Aided Design work that is necessary to prepare projects for “printing” by lining up faculty, staff, and potentially even students, who would be willing to assist with projects on their own time.
“Lansing Community College is very excited to be part of this very unique partnership with LEAP,” said Brent Knight, president of Lansing Community College. “LCC is committed to manufacturing and entrepreneurialism and has continually served the role as this region’s primary service provider for work force training. Our goal is to continue to develop a pipeline of talent to fulfill the needs of our local companies. We see the addition of the rapid prototyping program as another incredible tool to foster innovation and a tremendous resource for our students and local companies.”
The equipment, an Objet Geometries Eden 260V, produces three dimensional objects utilizing a technologically advanced polymer that allows the user to take an idea from paper to a working 3-D prototype in a matter of hours. The technology is designed so that, for a reasonable price, anyone with an idea for a product can test and modify their concept without having to raise the significant capital necessary to run a short manufacturing line for proving out concepts.
For more information, visit www.purelansing.com/3dprinter.php.