Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations



Danville, VA, October 1, 2009 -- Looking for a creative challenge that also features an intriguing technical side? Or perhaps you’ve been carrying around an idea for a new widget, but you haven’t a clue how to build it? Then roll up your sleeves and check out Danville Community College’s Design & Rapid Prototyping, a two-credit course for those who’d like to explore the high-tech side of product development.

The course will run from October 12 to December 14, every Monday evening from 6-9 p.m. at DCC’s Regional Center for Advanced Technology & Training (RCATT). The course will be taught by Roy Owen and Steve Bradford, both of whom are considered to be among the region’s preeminent authorities in rapid prototyping manufacturing.

Rapid prototyping (RP) is a process that uses computer aided drafting (CAD) programs (3D designs) to build physical models of new products or parts for existing products. Objects can be formed with any geometric complexity or intricacy without the need for elaborate machine setup or final assembly. The process is much less expensive than traditional machining methods.

DCC has several RP systems to serve the needs of local industry, inventors, and entrepreneurs. The crown jewel of its program is the Vanguard Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system, a half-million-dollar prototyper that can create three-dimensional products using a variety of material options, including aluminum and polymers. When DCC acquired the SLS machine in 2001 through Department of Commerce funding, it became the only community college in the nation to offer this advanced level of rapid prototyping.

According to Jerry Franklin, DCC’s Director of Manufacturing and Technical Services, the program is open to anyone, including those who do not have a technical background, and should appeal to a wide range of interests.

“This course is ideal for budding entrepreneurs who want to understand how products are developed to put on the market. It would appeal to folks who enjoy hands-on experiences and who want to understand how manufacturing works on a small, individual level. It would also be good for engineers who want to learn how to make their own 3D CAD designs and then have the opportunity to actually make those designs come to life,? Franklin explains.

The foundation of the course will be learning to use SolidWorks software, although Franklin emphasizes that this is not an actual SolidWorks course. Students will learn just enough about the software to be able to develop their own 3D plans to build on the prototypers.

“This is a really unique and exciting opportunity for our area,? Franklin adds. “I don’t know of any other college in the nation that is able to offer hands-on training on equipment of this caliber to folks who don’t have advanced technical degrees.?

For more information or to sign up for the course, please contact Jerry Franklin at 434.797.8573 or click here.


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