While developing into an accomplished metalsmith and jewelry maker, Michael Gayk came across another way to utilize his extensive background in crafts and technology. He works for 3D Systems University, a partnership between 3D Systems and York Technical College, with the intention of empowering people in an economy struggling from the loss of textile jobs overseas.
“South Carolina brought 3D Systems to Rock Hill in hopes of empowering the area with technology training,” said Gayk. “York Tech services counties in upper mid-South Carolina. The unemployment rates here are the worst ever: 14.3% (York), 18.5 % (Lancaster) and 21.4% (Chester). This area has been for years leveraged by one industry and trade. Once it was gone, the bottom dropped out. I equate this to situations in Michigan right now.
“One of my duties as an instructional developer is to support economic development. All instructors partake in this movement as we try to reach out to local entrepreneurs and other smaller industries in the area to help them launch new products. Essentially, we guide product conceiving/prototyping and assist in product tooling and manufacturing.”
As an instructional developer, Gayk is responsible for coordinating all research and content input into the 3D Systems curriculum. The corporation has invented rapid prototyping technologies, including stereolithography and the ‘.stl’ file format used to translate CAD (Computer Aided Design) data into a set of measurable and tangible distances and coordinates.
“I design content for all our courses,” Gayk said. “I research the technologies, practice with the technologies and use the technologies to produce art and other products. Then I document and publish my findings. I work closely with our other instructors by helping them with different aspects of creating curriculum, writing syllabi and launching online courses.
“As part of our economic development plan, I conceive and design products that are in need of our services. I have helped with reverse engineering of fiber glass molds for boats, designed and manufactured marketing models for a local mobile dentist office and am currently working on an electric generator for powering LEDS on bicycles. So I function both as a teacher and industrial designer.”