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SUNY New Paltz starts 3D printing program

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Albany/HV: SUNY New Paltz starts 3D printing program
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First came Gutenberg. Then came Xerox. And now, 3D printing. As YNN's John Wagner reports, SUNY New Paltz is slated to become a hub for all things copied in three dimensions.

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- "This is what they do in Silicon Valley. This is what they do in Cambridge," said Laurence Gottlieb, President and CEO for the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation.

And this is what they do now in New Paltz.

Thanks to a million dollar investment from Hudson River Ventures' Sean Elderidge and a grant from Central Hudson, the SUNY school will startup an advanced manufacturing center in the fall and become home to the state's first certificate program in 3D Printing.

"By investing in this technology up front, we can rapidly accelerate the growth of this industry to the benefit of all seven counties that we cover," said Gottlieb.

3D products range from medical devices like prosthetics and denture molds to airplane and vehicle prototypes and parts. But controversy brewed earlier this month over gun designs posted online for anyone to print.

"Every human invention can be used for good or for ill and we would certainly regulate the kind of work that our students do in our program," said SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian.

"With great freedom comes great responsibility," said Gayle Piersol of the Greenwich Creative Group. "I think legislation is going to have to be in place."

The curriculum includes content on ethical and social responsibility and the college will monitor how its equipment is used.

Although 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, the technology has taken huge strides over the past five years. The number of commercial 3D printing machines has grown from under 400 in 2008 to more than 23,000 today.

"Especially small businesses who are just beginning product development, maybe they've got that idea, that back of a napkin sketch of what they want to accomplish, but they don't have the resources that a huge company does," said Sharon Smith, Marketing VP for Stratasys.

But now they'll be allowed to rent the college's printers. The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation says this is the next big thing, matching perfectly with the governor’s plan for tax free SUNY campuses.

"The theory is that when you cluster smart people together," continued Gottlieb, "they form new companies, new ideas come out of that."

Hopefully, resulting in new jobs.

For more info on 3D printing in the Hudson Valley, visit hudsonvalley3d.com.

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