Worcester Polytechnic Institute: A unique approach to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been employing using 3DPrinterOS since the makerspace's inception in 2018, streamlining their 3D printing operations. The makerspace manages all its 3D printers through the 3DPrinterOS queue, allowing students to queue their parts to a virtual printer.

Want to learn more?
Duke University and 3DprinterOS

About Worcester Polytechnic Makerspace

The makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic provides students, faculty, and staff access to an impressive array of small tools and digital fabrication equipment. From hand tools to CNC routers, belt sanders, and vinyl cutters, the makerspace boasts a wide range of equipment to help turn any design into a reality. In addition to these tools, the prototyping lab houses FDM printers, carbon dioxide-based laser cutters, a PCB structuring machine, and a desktop water jet.

The highlight of the makerspace is undoubtedly the 27 3D printers. Students, faculty, and staff who complete basic training can access these printers to create various projects, from academic research to personal and entrepreneurial ventures. The makerspace operates on a term-based system and offers training and workshops throughout each term. And the makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic is open to everyone in the campus community. As long as it is legal, there are no restrictions on what can be made in the makerspace. It supports academic projects, senior design projects, research initiatives, and personal and entrepreneurial undertakings.

Since its opening in the fall of 2018, the makerspace has become a hub of creativity and innovation. Users have access to the latest equipment and training, enabling them to bring their ideas to life in a supportive and collaborative environment. So whether you are a seasoned maker or a curious novice, the makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic is the perfect place to unleash your creativity and turn your ideas into reality.

University Image

Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship with a 3D Print Farm: Using 3DPrinterOS 3D Printing Software to Run 3D Printers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The Innovation Studio at Worcester Polytechnic provides resources to foster innovation and develop entrepreneurs. The studio's first floor is the McDonough Makerspace, which provides students with tools, training, and resources. The second floor houses the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which offers funding opportunities and a network of Experts in Residence, including accomplished alumni who volunteer their time to mentor students.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center also has a phase-structured approach to building foundational skills, with advanced-level programs to create startups and solve real-world problems. The Center has helped students tackle real-world problems such as transportation in Tanzania, water quality monitoring systems, and developing a delivery service for home goods. Several student startups have emerged from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department in recent years.

Mitra Anand & the Makerspace Journey

Mitra Anand, Speaker and Thought Leader

Mitra Anand

Advanced Technology and Prototyping Specialist | The Makerspace Prototyping at Worcester Polytechnic

Mitra Anand is the advanced technology and prototyping specialist who leads the makerspace prototyping at Worcester Polytechnic. His passion for his job shines through when speaking with him. He tells us his favorite part of his job is working with the students daily; he enjoys teaching and learning from them daily. With varied capabilities, they are getting different machines and equipment, including over 30 Prusa Mini and Prusa MK3S+ printers, panel saws, laser cutters, soldering stations, and a paint booth. Mitra has a background in engineering, having earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in mechatronics and robotics engineering from New York University. In addition, he has over eight years of professional experience, mainly in the prototyping industry as a process improvement engineer, and in the past 4.5 years in academia with the development of the makerspace.

When Mitra first joined Worcester Polytechnic, the makerspace building was an empty shell with a few scattered pieces of equipment. He has been involved in the journey from those beginnings to building a program, developing the community behind it, and overseeing the day-to-day operations. Currently, he works as an advanced technology and prototyping specialist, managing the makerspace prototyping lab operations. He is excited about the future of the makerspace – which includes opening another prototyping lab in a new building across campus later in 2023.

Mitra and the director of innovation studio operations, Adam Sears, are constantly looking for ways to improve what they have. The new makerspace will increase its capacity and allow them to serve the entire campus better. They are getting different machines and equipment, including over 30 Prusa Mini and Prusa MK3S+ printers, panel saws, laser cutters, soldering stations, and a paint booth, with varied capabilities. This new makerspace is expected to open by the fall of this year.

The fact that they are expanding their capacity and adding more equipment is a testament to the success of the makerspace. Mitra says, "It's definitely a good problem to have, right? We have an amazing group of students working on solving real-world problems using these printers instead of all these machines were sitting there collecting dust. There is actually not enough capacity, and we need more of them."

In addition to the new makerspace, Mitra’s I&E team is also piloting an AI makerspace, which is in its early stages. The pilot, led by Tim Loew, is more focused on programming and funding opportunities and provides a platform for students to develop AI-based solutions to problems. They are kicking off the pilot program with a guest speaker series. Mitra and his team are excited to see where the future of the makerspace and AI lab leads them.

By the Numbers

Education Program Icon


1500 to 1800 Users each year

Numbers, starting, and adoption

The makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has a significant number of users. Approximately 1500 to 1800 unique users make use of it each year. While the main users are mechanical engineering and robotics engineering students, there is healthy participation from other departments, including game development, humanities, art, architectural engineering, civil engineering, chemical physics, and more. The makerspace provides workshops tailored to specific groups to encourage involvement from other majors: a recent Make a Ghost Halloween workshop taught computer science majors programming using Python and a CutiePi circuit board.

The makerspace has been well-received since its inception, emphasizing project-based learning in undergraduate classes. The team works closely with different faculty and departments to facilitate the transition between the classroom and making, including giving special lectures and assistance with getting started with 3D printing, rapid prototyping, design, digital manufacturing, and more. The makerspace has also been collaborating with different student clubs to offer resources and workshops tailored to their needs. Overall, the makerspace has built strong relationships across departments and continues to be an important resource for the campus community.

How Worcester Polytechnic uses 3DPrinterOS

Worcester Polytechnic Institute uses 3DPrinterOS to run its 3D printers for several reasons. One of the main reasons is to ensure equitable access to the printers while maintaining oversight and control over who is printing what. WPI wants to be educational - not just a print service. They encourage students to learn about the process of 3D printing and feel comfortable doing it, so they offer optional in-person training on using 3D printers. Students who complete the training can reserve printers and take full accountability for the success of their parts, including changing materials and colors.

WPI has all the printers in a subnet system to protect their internal security and IP addresses. The subnet can only be accessed by one dedicated computer that is logged in through the account of the person in charge. Students cannot access the IP addresses of the computers or printers from outside the software.

WPI also has eight printers that are dedicated to advanced users. These printers can be reserved up to a week in advance, allowing students to print their parts without waiting for their turn in the queue. This is especially helpful during busy times when a student needs to print something urgently.

Overall, WPI's use of 3DPrinterOS provides equitable access to their 3D printers while maintaining oversight and control over the printing process. They also offer educational opportunities for students to learn about 3D printing and to take full accountability for the success of their parts.

3DPrinterOS Logo
What to Expect From Our 3D Printer Fleet Software

Learn more about 3DPrinterOS - the most trusted 3D printing management software for Higher Education, Enterprises and OEMs. Fill out this form to get in touch with our experts.

Quick and easy setup

Book your personalized assessment now and get your free trial.

Thank you! One of our representatives will get in touch as soon as possible.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.