3D printers use a variety of different plastics or resins to build a real, physical model from a virtual 3D model on your computer. A virtual model can be created using Computer Aided Drafting software, or other common 3D modeling software. Many virtual models can also be downloaded from free online communities that encourage people to share the models they have made themselves.
Most 3D printers use a high temperature nozzle to melt a plastic filament and then deposit very thin layers of it onto a build platform, building a model layer by layer. The process can take anywhere from less than an hour to more than a full day, depending on the size and complexity of the model.
Open Lab 3D Printers:
- Creality CR-10S: Large build volume, wide material selection, and high quality prints.
- Formlabs Form2: Resin printer capable of exceptional detail, limited material selection, extensive finishing work required for prints.
- Monoprice Mini Select 3d: Small, portable, user-friendly unit. Can use common plastics, smaller than average build volume.
How to use our printers:
Users are encouraged to contact the Open Lab through our consultation form or email address in order to get started with a 3D printing project. We will help you determine the appropriate printer and material for your project, and teach you how to generate a file that will print appropriately, as well as how to operate the printer. New users will require training and supervision when working directly with the printers.
Printer time is currently allocated on a first come, first served basis, with preference given to projects directly related to academic coursework. Open Lab does not charge for printing materials; however, we do not have the capacity to support high volume manufacturing.
If you are new to 3D printing, we encourage you to attend one of our 3D printing workshops.
Examples of teaching with 3D Printing technology:
The human brain is a complex 3D structure, difficult to visualize using only 2D images. With the Open Lab’s help, students start with images of structures in the brain and create 3D-printed models. The hands-on experience facilitates their own learning and their classmates’, drawing connections between traditional textbook images and a model they can hold, rotate, and explore.
- If you would like help designing a project involving 3D printing, or incorporating 3D printing into your teaching, schedule a consultation with Open Lab staff.