Gannon Engineering Students Dream Big, And Build Bigger
Posted: March 17, 2017
What happens when you put three engineering students
together a long way from home? They design something; and if these
students happen to be members of the Gannon University Robotic
Development Team (GUBotDev for short), they design something big-
10-feet-tall to be exact.
Students in Gannon's GUBotDev team designed a 10-foot-tall 3-D
printer that Steven Rowland, a software engineering major and one
of the designers, said, "is definitely among the three biggest
filament printers in the world, from what we can find."
Rowland's assertion might sound like a boast, but engineers,
including his team members Nick Devine and Jeremy Korte, both
electrical engineering majors, are not given to exaggeration.
"Someone suggested that we build something big enough to print
ourselves, and after all the joking, we decided that we had to
build it," Korte, an electrical engineering major, said.
That suggestion was made when the three were in Amman, Jordan
teaching a robotics workshop. A few sketches on a napkin and 45
days later, the three had designed, and made parts for the
delta-style filament printer.
The goal was to have the printer ready for the Erie
Manufacturing Day Celebration (MFG) last October, an event that
drew hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of visitors to Erie's
Bayfront Convention Center. "We knew that everybody would have a
3-D printer. We wanted to bring something cool that nobody had
seen," Korte said.
To do so, the GUBotDev team scoured local steel dealers and
Craigslist for components. They machined all of the blocks, plates
and wheels in Gannon's mechanical engineering lab and assembled the
electronics entirely from scratch.
That might have been the easy part. Transporting a 10-foot
printer was a different problem, but the team solved it ingeniously
by designing and building a base strapped to an electric
The printer, which can be assembled in 45 minutes, has been
presented at events on campus such as Wellness Fair and a
presentation to recruit students to join GUBotDev. The printer will
be at Gannon University's Open House on April 22 with more display
opportunities in the works.
Designed to accommodate objects up to six feet in length and
three feet in diameter, the printer has the capability to create
whole entire wing assemblies for radio-controlled model airplanes,
and even to create human statues out of plastic filament. GUBotDev
hopes to move forward and begin making large scale products with
And then it's on to the next project with the goal of having
something ready for the next MFG Day this fall. "We're looking
forward to us coming back this year with something bigger," Devine