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Our series looking at the future of 3D printing continues with insights into the next generation of engineers and the circular economy from the Research Unit in Engineering Sciences (RUES) at University of Luxembourg.

Claude Wolf is a senior lecturer in civil and mechanical engineering at the University of Luxembourg, Kirchberg. His academic expertise is in computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) rapid prototyping and 3D printing. He is also a champion of open source design and upcycling through additive.

Future - Printing - Manufacturing - AM - Generation

The future of 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing [AM] will be driven by the next generation of engineers who are just about to qualify, the Z generation (1994-2010). Do we, educators, know this Z generation? Do we know what motivates them?

The Z generation is a generation of digital natives interacting with PCs, iPads, smartphones and the internet since birth, a pragmatic and short term orientated generation. Our prejudice brands them as unprepared and unmotivated, with their 10 second attention spans, but in reality, they have already proven they are creative, determined and hardworking as well as team oriented, when they are given the opportunity. They have understood that 3D printing offers them this opportunity.

Z - Engineers - Motivation - Interest - Lectures

Unfortunately, we often hear that Z engineers show low motivation and interest during lectures. During my classes, it became evident to me that this generation also have standard traditional values such as face to face communication, team orientation and engagement.

They have diverse and numerous social activities, are keenly looking for career opportunities and are also extremely motivated when they consider the project is meaningful. At the University of Luxembourg, we have developed and increased Project Based Learning in Machine Design lectures using Additive Manufacturing.

Students - Engagement - Motivation - Projects - Printing

It is impressive and rewarding to see the students’ engagement and motivation for these projects. 3D printing arouses their full attention and allow students to...
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