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The New Jersey Institute of Technology Opens Rapid Prototyping Facility

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2018
NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has opened Makerspace, a training-focused, rapid prototyping manufacturing facility.

Partners from government and industry joined the NJIT community to celebrate the opening of Makerspace at NJIT, a training-focused, rapid prototyping facility that is central to both the university's hands-on learning mission and its growing relationship with New Jersey's manufacturing community. Courtesy of NJIT.
Partners from government and industry joined the NJIT community to celebrate the opening of Makerspace at NJIT, a training-focused, rapid prototyping facility that is central to both the university's hands-on learning mission and its growing relationship with New Jersey's manufacturing community. Courtesy of NJIT.

The 10,000-sq-ft. space operates equipment ranging from small 3D printers to large industrial machining centers such as precision measurement and laser cutting machines. Plans to double the space and add electronic devices, a wood shop, a paint booth and soldering machines are underway.

Moshe Kam, dean of NJIT's Newark College of Engineering, said the move from computer simulation in the teaching of engineering to hands-on practice is essential.

"It's easy to teach engineering with simulators, but it will only take you so far in becoming a successful practicing engineer,” Kam said.

"We'll be making suspension components, a custom gear box and gears – we'll probably use all of the machines in here,” said Christopher Eugenio, a mechanical engineering major at NJIT. “It's going to really help us in the troubleshooting phase when we can fix a part on the fly, by printing a new one in a couple of hours. Our sponsors have been wonderful, but the turnaround is a little longer when you have to send your designs out."

Senator Teresa Ruiz, an assistant majority leader in the New Jersey State Senate and chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, called Makerspace a "creative space" likely to entice students to math and science, helping to address what she calls "the gap we're not filling" between unacceptable pockets of unemployment and unmet demand for workers in STEM sectors. The state provided $10 million in funding to create the facility.

Joseph Taylor, former chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America and a member of the NJIT Board of Trustees, recalled the scarcity of engineers during a growth period 30 years ago as a "limiting factor" in the company's expansion.

NJIT President Joel S. Bloom called the Makerspace a "dual-use facility" that would create a "workforce of the future," while also serving the needs of industry, "particularly manufacturing businesses."

The facility will provide opportunities for industrial partners to participate as mentors, trainers and instructors, for companies to collaborate with students and faculty members on research and development projects, and for employees to receive customized training tailored to their needs.

"This is what this space means to me: a place for hands-on learning that will encourage what we're trying to do in the state of New Jersey – bring manufacturing back to our cities," said State Senator Ronald Rice.

BusinessNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNJITMakerspace3d printingmaterialsMoshe KamChistopher EugenioTeresa RuizNew Jersey State LegislaturemanufacturingAmericaslight speed

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