GMB partners with Wor-Wic to produce structural part
May 19, 2014

In conjunction with the mission of Wor-Wic Community College to promote local economic growth, the college is encouraging area businesses to learn how they can use the college’s 3-D printer to achieve company goals.

Morgan Helfrich, senior project architect at George, Miles & Buhr (GMB), an architectural and engineering design firm in Salisbury, learned about Wor-Wic’s 3-D printer at a recent Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“Initially, we wanted to know if it could be used for architectural models based on current 3-D modeling software programs that we utilize and are designing. So far, we have been successful in printing a scaled massing model of a simple shed structure.”

This is the third test piece and the first actual part that GMB has printed. They plan to continue to test the parameters of the 3-D printer to find additional uses within the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Helfrich is trained to use the printer and some of GMB’s technical staff have used it in various classes at Wor-Wic.

GMB’s structural engineer Reggie Mariner Jr. has also successfully used the 3-D printer to test a design for a pending patent.

“Since 2008, Wor-Wic has been training students how to produce objects with the 3-D printer,” said Dr. Trevor H. Jones, dean of occupational education. “It’s still a relatively new technology to a lot of industries, but it is gaining interest because it drastically reduces the time and cost to develop and produce a product.”

“Learning to process and manipulate files that transfer to the 3-D printer is key,” said Donald C. Nicholson, technology department head. “Testing these parts and using the printer in real-world situations is the best way for us to adjust our curriculum to better serve businesses in the area.”

“The 3-D printer can only be operated by professionals with computer-aided drafting (CAD) training,” Jones added.

Wor-Wic offers two courses to help manufacturers and their employees learn the necessary skills – “Computer-Aided Manufacturing” and “Engineering and Manufacturing Technology with CAD.”

ARCHITECTURAL MODEL. Morgan H. Helfrich, senior project architect at George, Miles & Buhr, at right, works with Donald C. Nicholson, technology department head at Wor-Wic Community College, to create an architectural model using the college’s 3-D printer.