Indiana State University students have been flying unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for years as part of the school's manufacturing and engineering program. But now, students are creating the drones using 3D printing technology from scratch, rather than using pre-manufactured components. It's that kind of 3D printing experience, Assistant Professor of Manufacturing and Engineering Alister McCloud says, that sets the students apart in the eyes of major employers.
ISU Manufacturing and Engineering seniors were given the task to build an unmanned aerial vehicle for $300 or less, about half the typical cost. The teams 3D printed the entire frame of the drones, which was a first for the engineering students.
This hands-on experience with the technology has helped to majorly set apart the students among their peers because the industry now demands that students have an understanding of 3D printing technology upon entering the workforce. The project has gained interest from major employers such as Rolls-Royce and GE.
Grant Fultz, a mechanical engineering technology graduate, said that when he posted his resume online he received about 50 responses from employers, each one saying that experience in 3D printing is a top-priority.
Dr. McCloud says that almost all of ISU's manufacturing and engineering students land jobs before they leave school.