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LCC Displays Maker Space Program

Computer Generated Key Rings

New innovations in computer technology have been combined with high-tech equipment at Lamar Community College which is offering a new curriculum for students as well as business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Unused Materials are Just Shaved Away Leaving the Product

Called Innovate and Make Space, the program is offered in the Betz Technology Building at LCC and is just getting underway. Students can enroll in courses which incorporate design ideas created by computer and applied to 3-D printers, laser cutters, a desktop milling machine, a heat press and a router table.

Dealing with the Laser Printer

Using these machines, what you design on computer can be manufactured into parts, designs or a finished product. Laura Misenheimer is the college’s Innovate and Make Space manager and she’s been busy converting several rooms in the Betz Tech Center into classrooms and working areas.  The concept is like space-age technology where a person can come up with a design for a product or machine part, generate a program onto a computer and use the equipment to produce a product for sale or for use in a larger piece of equipment.  For example, you can generate parts for a custom designed toy car, gears to use in machinery, etchings for cups and mugs or even applique designs for clothing.

Laura Misenheimer, Classroom Manager with Finished Gears

“We’re still in some planning stages at this point, but we want the public to know this is for them in their community. We will be able to open this up to people who come to us with an idea and a design and put it into a practical application,” she explained.

Several dozen local residents and community leaders attended the open house at the Tech Center on Thursday, August 3rd, to get a first-hand look at the equipment in operation and get an explanation about the possibilities for a new way of manufacturing materials.  Misenheimer said some of the equipment has limitations into the types of materials that are used to construct items, pointing to one device that uses different colored plastic filaments, fed off a spool into the equipment which is building gears from a computer generated program.  An LED display panel gives you a read out of the percentages of work that has been done and a countdown on how much time is left before the job is complete.

The new program is funded by a Colorado Community College System Innovation Grant. The new curriculum will work hand in hand with programs now offered at Lamar Community College, including welding, construction trades, commercial sewing and art programs.  Several instructors were present to explain how each piece of equipment functions and how a computer program can be brought into a piece of hardware.

Contact Laura Misenheimer at LCC for more information about the program and future class times at 336-1584.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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