Lake Area Tech gets 3D metal printer

Local News

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — There are several 3D printers on Lake Area Tech’s campus, but only one of them prints metal.

“It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun,” LATC Robotics/Electronics department head Brooks Jacobsen said.

Brooks Jacobsen is the department head of Robotics and Electronics.

“Research development is mainly what you see in the industry with it. It’s not a process line that’s going to make millions of parts, but it’s something you can test stuff out on, make sure it works or your one off stuff,” Jacobsen said.

The metal printer can make a variety of parts, including shackles and gears.

On Friday the machine was making a fan for a project in the college’s aviation department. Not only is it being used for Lake Area Tech programs, but businesses can get parts made at cost.

“Whether that be the cheese plants to the sign companies, stuff like that, we’ve helped with just one off pieces that they just ran into that they couldn’t get anywhere else,” Jacobsen said.

Another benefit of the printer is it gives students experience working with the other industries that are getting parts printed.

Charlie Seitzer is the midwest sales manager for a company that sells Markforged printers.

“The main reason people are wanting to print metal right now is, part of it is to bring their supply chain so they control what’s happening in house rather than having to send it out so someone ten miles away or across the Pacific Ocean, they’re having that control in house, so they can shorten their lead times and lessen their cost,” Hawk Ridge Systems midwest sales manager Charlie Seitzer said.

Lake Area Tech Robotics and Engineering student Cameron Haag is calling the college’s new printer a “really fun toy.”

“It’s amazing that we have it. Making metal parts, 3D printing is such a big part of a new revolution in manufacturing as it’s called,” Lake Area Tech student Cameron Haag said.

Lake Area Tech purchased the printer using grant money.

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