Carolyn Bishoff assumes nothing when she leads an introduction to 3D printing workshop. When her participants gathered in late October in the Health Sciences Library Makerspace, she first asked them to download the software that sends instructions to the type of 3D printers available in the space.
Bishoff, Innovation Lead in the Libraries, then demonstrated how to download a model to produce from Thingiverse. Changye Li wanted to know if the downloaded model could be edited and was assured it could be. Students also can make their own models with CAD software, Bishoff noted.
A plastic filament feeds through a very hot nozzle onto a warm bed to build the model from the bottom up. Parameters like the thickness of the model, the amount of support needed, and its size determine how long the items will need to print. Once the parameters are decided, the file can be copied to an SD disc for transfer to the printer.
Allison Dai, a first-year doctoral student in Psychology, came to the workshop so that she could print models to satisfy her own interests. She was glad to learn how to operate the 3D printing software and the 3D printing machine. Her only surprise: “it does take a really long time to print something out!” In the future, she plans to use Blender software to create and print models.
Story by Allison Campbell-Jensen
Photos by Karen Carmody-McIntosh