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SUNY New Paltz to house 3-D printing project

A New York college and business leaders say they are creating a program to train people to operate in the burgeoning field of three-dimensional printing.

The so-called 3-D printing program was announced yesterday at SUNY New Paltz.

It would lead to the first certificate program in the state in the high-technology field in which medical devices, machinery, toys and other products can be manufactured quickly. The process turns digital models on computer screens into three-dimensional solid objects using plastics and other materials.

The growing field is credited with recently saving a baby's life by allowing the speedy manufacturing of medical devices to keep his air passages open, and NASA is exploring ways of using 3-D printing to provide food to astronauts. It's also used for customized toys, medical implants on demand, and lightweight aircraft parts.

A total of $1 million is being devoted to the public-private partnership. Ulster County businessman Sean Eldridge, who is running for Congress in 2014, announced he is donating $250,000, his Hudson River Ventures is investing $500,000, and the New York Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. will provide $250,000 for the program, which will provide instruction and equipment for students at SUNY New Paltz.

The facility will be called the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz. Area businesses will be able to rent the equipment.

The project was announced at the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp.'s "Next Big Thing" breakfast series at the university.

The commercial enterprise linked to a college or university is the type of operation Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is trying to encourage with his proposed tax-free zones. Cuomo wants to offer start-up companies associated with higher education programs the ability to operate tax free for 10 years if they create new jobs.

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