NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - This past week, a one-of-a-kind printer was born in the science building of Stephen F. Austin State University.
Senior Cody Morris was a one of the first operate the SFA Engineering Department's new 3D printer.
"It clicked, started moving, and we all kind of jumped back and were pretty excited about that," Morris said.
Morris explained that this experience is unlike anything he has done before.
"This is the first time I've ever had experience with or even seen one of these things in action, so it's kind of cool coming in here," Morris explained. "We actually got to build the whole thing."
During class, something that stood out was pens and paper were far and few between. Students check out tablets, just as they would books from the library. From there, they are able to make the designs needed for 3D printing.
"The tablet is something we are starting to introduce into our classroom," said Dr. Dan Bruton, who teaches engineering courses at SFA.
Bruton said that this advance in technology has helped his teaching immensely.
"It's really kind of helped the learning environment," Bruton said. "Students are saying they don't really feel like they're doing homework anymore because they are manipulating sketches and circuit diagrams on the surface themselves."
Later in the semester, the SFA engineering students will be using this machine to prepare a unique print for their near-space balloon project.
"We're hoping to print the capsule of which we are going to put all the components in, so like camera and GPS tracker, so we don't lose it," Morris said.
Once the capsule is completed, the students will send it to the sky by a large helium balloon.
The students said it is really cool to see projects they've designed come to life right before their eyes.