Mechanical Engineering Faculty Hones Expertise in Rapid Prototyping

In 1989, Rapid Prototyping was launched as an exciting new application of product development. Today, industries across the world are utilizing this powerful tool. Rafiq Noorani, professor of mechanical engineering, embraced the technology early on.

As a pioneering leader in Rapid Prototyping, commonly known as 3D Printing, Noorani has published two textbooks on the subject. With the help of six National Science Foundation grants and several industrial grants, he established a state-of-the-art rapid prototyping lab for Loyola Marymount University Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering. He also teaches a host of mechanical engineering courses within the college, including Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing, Robotics and Rapid Prototyping.

Noorani was born and raised in Bangladesh, where in 2018 he funded the Dr. Rafiq Noorani Library and Information Center at the Sheikh Amanullah Degree College in Kalaroa. The center provides learning materials and useful information to the students and teachers of the Kalaroa community. He established Osman Ali Noorani Education Foundation to help underprivileged students. He also implemented an arsenic project in Bangladesh that provides access to clean drinking water for the local community.

Noorani travels to Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh and other countries to teach engineering courses. Though he loves exploring international culture and has lived all over the United States, including Texas, Louisiana and Washington, Noorani has embraced California — and especially LMU — as his home.

Noorani did not begin his teaching career at LMU, but once he was hired, he never looked back. Noorani credits LMU for supporting his success. “They really respect the education of the whole person and they care about students,” said Noorani. He loves living just one mile from campus.

In conversation, it is difficult for Noorani to contain his excitement about 3D printing. “The applications are going through the roof,” said Noorani, explaining how 3D printing can create prototypes of everything from cell phones to toys to cars. And while most 3D printers use plastic, research is now underway to explore 3D printing with metal. Noorani calls the technology a “very exciting revolution in production” and one that has “progressed tremendously” in a relatively short period of time. Noorani’s enthusiasm on the topic is palpable.

When Noorani isn’t teaching or working in the lab, you might find him at the gym or at the local bookstore, where he enjoys reading magazines and grading papers while he sips coffee. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, to whom he has been married for forty-five years.

Though he has decades of impressive research and professional accomplishments under his belt and his wife enjoys a satisfying career at the university library, Noorani says that if either of them deserves a prize, it would be for their marriage.