The gear pulls the filament, burning it, until it transforms into a mere liquid. Back and forth, layer by layer, the liquid glides over a heated print bed in ultra-fine lines building and building. Hours, minutes, seconds later, your masterpiece is completed. 

It has been over 30 years since Chuck Hull invented the first 3D printer, but the machine has progressed as its technology has and is opening new opportunities for every field of study and personal hobby. From cosplay, to pizza and musical instruments, 3-D printers and other technologies such as laser cutting and industrial sewing have aided makers, scientists and artists alike in their careers. 

Now, residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley have the opportunity to use these state-of-the-art machines to pursue their hobbies or small business goals. 

The West Virginia University at Parkersburg Entrepreneur Center, in partner with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley will host its grand opening at 5:30 pm on Sept. 6 in the Workforce and Economic Development Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Funded by the Ross Foundation and Community and Technical College System of West Virginia, the Entrepreneur Center is a makerspace where technology and creativity meet in an effort to expand the entrepreneurial Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) movement in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The center will provide the public access to technologies such as 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting, Arduino (electronic prototyping platform), industrial-capable sewing, and more. 

“Tres Ross of the Ross Foundation has led efforts to bring entrepreneurial methods to the Mid-Ohio Valley with Innovate MOV,” said Michele Wilson, WVU Parkersburg Executive Director of Workforce and Economic Development. “We are grateful for the support of the Ross Foundation and Community and Technical College System of West Virginia so we may encourage the development of small business endeavors.” 

During the event, guests will have the opportunity to meet Anthony Wilson of Wilson’s House of Cosplay, Dominique Holl of Holl’s Chocolates, Tony Workman of Classic Plastics, and Cindy Moore of Cindy’s Simply Sewing to learn how these area residents turned their interests into careers. Laser cutting and 3-D printing demonstrations, as well as meet-and-greets with the 501st Legion and James Hamilton with his Star Wars BB-8 droid, will take place. 

The 501st Legion is a volunteer organization formed to bring together costume enthusiasts that celebrate the Star Wars franchise by attending pop-cons and contributing to charity and volunteer work. Members build their own detailed, replica costumes using the same machinery found in the Entrepreneur Center. 

Attendees will also be put in a drawing for a gift basket including a coupon for a WVU Parkersburg community education class, t-shirt, 3D printed cookie cutter and more. The Entrepreneur Center coordinator will also be there to answer questions about membership affordability, hours and policies. 

“We are excited to invite the community and show guests they have the resources and creative support to pursue their passions,” WVU Parkersburg Entrepreneur Center Coordinator Logan Mace. “The Entrepreneur Center truly is where inspiration meets innovation.” 

For more information, contact Logan Mace at or 304-424-8000 ext. 606, and visit Facebook @WVUPWED for details on future classes and events.