When you look back on your university days, what is your most cherished memory? Is it a certain test that you aced? A drunken frat party you attended? How about the time your class 3D printed an entire, ready-to-fly rocket?
OK, so that last one probably didn’t happen — but it totally could have if you had been lucky enough to attend Inholland University of Applied Science in the Netherlands, where fortunate students have been working on just such a project.
“We have an innovation studio that’s kind of a maker space and creative lab for students to apply the theory they’ve learned in practice,” Martin Kampinga, an aviation technology teacher at the school, told Digital Trends. “We do cool projects like building rockets, model RC aircrafts, low-mileage vehicles, and human-powered submarines. The projects have to be technical and innovative, so we use high-tech design and manufacturing methods.”
Previously, the university has built and fired two rockets, constructed from carbon fiber, with non-structural parts printed using additive manufacturing.
“The next step is to print a full rocket out of segments we can click together,” Kampinga continued. “This year in May we are planning to launch the printed rocket at a controlled military area.”
He said that the project was calculated to not just appeal to students, but also their future employers.
“Building rockets or building aircrafts is something cool you can put on your resume,” he said. “The fast process of idea, design and prototype is a big advantage [of 3D printing]. The learning curve for students participating in these extracurricular projects is higher compared to the ‘normal’ students. When students apply for a job and reveal they have experience with advanced design tools and high-tech production tools they will become a more interesting engineering for a company.”
Don’t worry if you don’t live anywhere near the Netherlands, either, since the Inholland University of Applied Science is nice enough to make its 3D-printed rocket lesson plan available online.
Now you can save on that five- or six-figure university education and just buy yourself a really nice 3D printer instead!