According to Tony Frankino, assistant professor of biology in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston, “If you can think of it, you can print it. The concept of 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but technological advances and reduced costs have made printers more practical for everyday use in academia.
Several UH researchers have added 3D printers to their labs over the past few years. The College of Optometry installed one in 2003, and the number has grown steadily. He used one of the printers installed in the Information Technology Center at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to build a series of small wind tunnels that one of his Ph.D. students, Drew Russey, used to study fruit flies and their ability to adapt to new environments. Frankino also used the printer to make smaller scale models of the wind tunnels to take to conferences and lectures, a visual aid to explain the research.”