NSF awards RapidTech a $2.9 million dollar grant

RapidTech produces prototypes of objects using resin and silicone. (Ben Dolan)

Nicole Bullard

The National Science Foundation awarded the RapidTech program a three-year $2.9 million grant.

RapidTech is the National Center for Additive Manufacturing at Saddleback College.

“Congratulations to our RapidTech program, which is a leading resource to business and educational institutions that need expert advice and leadership in the growing rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing field,” said Tod A. Burnett, the president of Saddleback College.

The National Science Foundation grant to RapidTech is approved for the scientific and technical merit and because RapidTech is a leading resource to many businesses.

The National Science Foundation is an independent U.S. government agency which strives to “promote the progress of science. [And] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and to secure the national defense.”

The RapidTech program works alongside businesses, educational institutions, entrepreneurs and community-based organizations to develop new products and designs using innovative prototyping technologies.

RapidTech is a program funded through Saddleback, although the facilities are located on the University of California, Irvine campus. The program has fourteen manufacturing systems and several secondary pieces of processing equipment for students to work with.

With this $2.9 million grant, RapidTech will be able to provide students with even greater hands-on experiences said a RapidTech press release.

Students in the program will learn to use advanced technologies involved in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, consumer products and art animation industries, according to the RapidTech website.

“The NSF grant will enable the program to continue its heralded efforts in developing industry-driven coursework and laboratories, giving students the hands-on experience that is vital to their career development in this expanding industry,” Burnett said.

Ken Patton, principal investigator will lead National Center from Saddleback College.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have this award from NSF. The National Center will continue its role in leading the emerging additive manufacturing industry through process research and technician audition,” Patton said. “We continue to build partnerships with K-12, community colleges, and universities across the nation.”

The NSF grant will be used on furthering RapidTech projects and keeping the technology new and improved.

“This important national effort will allow us to continue to build strong career opportunities for students,” Patton said. 

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