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In addition to the reporting by Connecticut Public Radio that appears below, Connecticut Public Television has produced two video series that focus on manufacturing in our state:Made in Connecticut profiles some of Connecticut's local manufacturing businesses, from high-tech to handmade.Making the Future introduces us to some Connecticut youth pursuing careers in manufacturing and the trades. This series was produced as part of the American Graduate: Getting to Work project with support form the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

CCAT Installs "World's Most Advanced" 3D Printer

Matthew Perry
Machining Applications Specialist Eric Wold uses the new ProJet printer.

The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology has installed what it says is the world's most advanced 3D printer.

CCAT's Advanced Manufacturing Center in East Hartford exists to help companies in this state stay ahead of global trends. Its director, Bob Torrani, said, "We help the small manufacturers be more productive with their processes. We take a job they're doing today, look at it with advanced technology, and give them back a solution that makes them more competitive." 

Credit 3D Systems
The printer is capable of making complex, multi-material parts.

The center has been using additive manufacturing or 3D printers for some time, but it's just installed the latest ProJet5500x machine from South Carolina-based 3D Systems. "What's unique about this is the size of the part you can make," said Torrani. "Most of the printers are pretty small. This one has a 21-inch workspace, so you can make rather large parts. Also the resolution of the materials - you can deposit down to a thousandth of an inch."

Most 3D printers can build using only one type of plastic or metal. This machine is capable of building objects using four different materials simultaneously, so it can build complex parts and models.

Torrani said, "You can literally grow a car with rubber tires, a white plastic body, a black roof, and a clear windshield -- all in one build."

This particular printer has only been on the market for the last six months, and CCAT partnered with Cromwell-based office equipment and services company ACT Group to bring it to the center.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.
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