We take a hands-on approach to our courses - and here is why...


We offer mechanical engineering students from hftm the opportunity to print self-designed bottle openers that exploit the advantages of additive manufacturing - topology optimization is a big topic here.

In session 1, students learn how 3D printers work, deal with the subject of materials and decide how to position and where to support their designs. In a second session, the students can separate the printed parts from the build plate, remove the support structures and finish the surface.

You might ask yourself what could go wrong…Well, have you ever tried to print a design without any reconstruction or adjustments in orientation?

As you can see in picture 1, the first print failed. We had to print again, fix the orientation and add some more support structures. What does that mean for us? Well, it means more material expenditure and more time consumption for the team to finish the job.

But what does this mean for the students? The students with no experience with metal AM take home some important learnings.

  1. Orientation matters
  2. Support structures matter
  3. And the design matters as well

Several students mentioned that they wouldn’t print their design again because of “bad fit” and too many supports. Some designs even needed to be supported inside the part because of overhangs.

In this course, students learn first-hand how important designing for additive manufacturing is, and how the design influences the whole manufacturing process, from data preparation up to the finishing of the part.

It is important to understand that not every design and print job is successful after the first attempt. And no single rule can be applied to all part requirements. Through experience you gain confidence in what mistakes not to make again.

By failing no matter what area, you build up know-how that can be used when facing future challenges. For us, this is a good example of maximizing the learning effect which translates into sustainable growth in knowledge.

Source: https://www.swissm4m.ch/post/we-take-a-hands-on-approach-to-our-courses-and-here-is-why


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Swiss m4m Center