The amazing potential of 3D printers is subject of Fairfield University discussion

Image: Students with 3D printer3D Printers have become so sophisticated that they can make three-dimensional samples of iPhone cases, high heels, a working camera lens and even acoustic guitars. At Fairfield University, engineering students use one to make prototypes of products that they've designed for classes.

The high-tech printers and their limitless possibilities will be the subject of a free, public Fairfield University panel discussion, on Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Fairfield University's School of Engineering and the Inventors Association of Connecticut (IACT), "3D Printing for Inventors and Entrepreneurs - Prototypes, Product Development and More" will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room.

The event will feature panelists Doug Lyon, Ph.D., chairman of the computer engineering department at the School of Engineering who is IACT's president; Bill Derry, assistant director for Innovation and User Experience at the Westport Public Library; Scott Rownin, who founded his company, SafeRide, to develop a new, effective approach for preventing the use of cell phones by those behind the wheel; and Bruce Popek, president of Design Innovation, Inc., a product design firm that works with Fortune 100 companies as well as inventors and entrepreneurs. The moderator will be Manny Ratafia, chief executive officer of Lyon-Ratafia, an entrepreneur, consultant, and angel investor.

Dr. Lyon will show samples made with the Objet Eden printer located at the School of Engineering, and elaborate on his use of custom software for creating 3D objects. He'll also discuss rapid prototyping using high-end 3D printers.

Also on the agenda is the growing role of 3D printers at the Westport Public Library. Derry will showcase 3D prototypes created by library patrons/budding inventors.

For more information about the School of Engineering, visit

Image: Fairfield University School of Engineering Senior Design students used the 3-D printer pictured here to make a prototype of a tool to help people with arthritis. They received the 2010 Dean's Award for the project.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on April 17, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 264

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