The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

A warm, summer evening bestowed Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday night when the No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies faced the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Graduate student launches 3-D printer website

 
 

Amid the pens, flash-drives and packs of gum on Michael Mehlman’s desk, rests a 3D printer, the small machine with which he formed his entrepreneurial enterprise.
In February, the applied physics graduate student launched grain3d, a Web site where customers can browse and download designs to a flash drive and print them using a home 3-D printer.
Mehlman said he initially learned about 3-D printing technology by watching YouTube videos. He then spent last October to January considering the potential the apparatus had in a consumer market.
“I asked myself, ‘How do you make it available to the whole population?'” Mehlman said. “The technology has existed for a long time in industry, but not for consumers. This is going to be a real game changing technology.”
Mehlman’s envisions his website will parallel an app store for electronic devices.
“The idea is to become the premier catalog of 3-D design,” Mehlam said. “People will have this one place they can come and find reliable products.”
Mehlman worked with Computer Aided Design (CAD) in his time as a graduate student. This program, along with several others, provided him with the knowledge needed to create 3-D models.
Once the design is downloaded from grain3d, it transforms into a tangible product by “stereolithography,” a process Mehlman described as a “hot glue gun like.” Plastic is dispersed through the nozzle attached to the printer, and the solid product is formed in layers by the resin-like liquid and lasers. The results are common objects seen everyday such as phone cases, phone stands or money clips.
Mehlman’s research advisor, assistant professor of physics and astronomy Dan Melconian described Mehlman as “creative” and “focused” in his work.
“I think he’s always had a business sense about him,” Melconian said.
While Mehlman was confident in the technicalities of design, he was still unsure of his business skills and turned to Startup Aggieland, a student led business accelerator for student entrepreneurs, during March of this past year for assistance.
“I met with our Student Leader Council and said, ‘We’ve got to get this guy in to interview,'” said Shelly Brenckman, one of the marketing wranglers assigned to Mehlman. “We think he has a fast entry into the market. He was fairly [far] along when he came to us. He skipped the early stages,” she said.
Since the advent of the 3-D printer, the printers have evolved to become much smaller and increasingly user-friendly. Mehlman is using this change to target the everyday consumer. 3-D printing has also been considered for manufacturing food products and more controversial innovations such as firearms.
Mehlman said using 3-D printing to develop food could be cost efficient, because of the waste produced when manufacturing food products.
“Wherever materials are scarce, 3-D printing will make a huge impact,” he said.
Mehlman said the creation of firearms is a “real possibility” and a topic that will have to be addressed.
“I can see the legal side playing out,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how the government and judicial system deals with this.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *