3D printers have sparked a wave of popularity, allowing the world to create nearly anything. Ideas can become a reality with the 3D printers located in the David O. McKay library.
The library has hosted 3D printing in the Mac Lab, room 140A, for nearly two years.
The 3D printer takes a drawing rendered in 3D from the computer and brings it to life. According to 3dprinting.com, the creation of an object is achieved by laying down layers of the material until the object created in thinly sliced horizontal cross-sections of the object.
Peter Gehring, a junior studying art, works with the 3D printers in the library.
“There’s a good handful of people that know about it [3D printing] and come in,” Gehring said. “We have a lot of regulars, but there are still students that are surprised that we have it.”
To build masterpieces, students must digitally create an object using a computer. The library website lists several different programs available for students to bring creations to life including TinkerCAD, thingiverse.com and myminifactory.com.
“Mostly, people use the printing for things like Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars, Disney,” Gehring said. “There’s also a lot of students that use printing for projects. There’s a lot of different applications for it.”
With the 3D model designed, students must save and upload files to the Mac Lab webpage.
“There’s a list on the website of things we’re allowed to print, there’s specific things that we can’t do like weapons or things that don’t follow the Honor Code.” said Tristan Lanier, a junior studying art and Mac Lab employee. “We can print it as long as it’s within those parameters.”
Creations get digitally “sliced” into hundreds, sometimes thousands, of horizontal layers. Design cost varies depending on the size of the print.
“The main factor [for cost] is the filament that we use,” Lanier said. “There’s several different filaments we have that vary in cost. Some can go between seven cents and 10 cents per gram, and that’s added to the time it takes to print it.”
To see the 3D printing process, check out this video by Mashable.
According to Autodesk, 3D printing dates back to the 1980s when a man named Hideo Kodama created additive manufacturing, and since then, its technology has paved a new path for invention. Doctors have practiced printing models of organs for use as well as body parts. Food has also begun its debut in the printing world.
To check out the 3D printers on campus, go to the library website or stop by the Mac Lab and pick up a pamphlet on printing your 3D model.