3D printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. Many types of 3D printers now exist that are able to create objects made of plastic, resin, paper, and various other materials. The reach of 3D printing in education seems boundless, as a plethora of applications exist for Science, Art, Math, History, Engineering, Architecture, and beyond.
3D Printing at The Digital Union
The Digital Union is the only department at Ohio State offering 3D printing to all students, staff, and faculty regardless of departmental affiliation, and for free! You can now submit 3D models to be printed in PLA filament on a Lulzbot Taz 6 at the Digital Union Enarson Classroom Building (Room 012).
Selection Process at the Digital Union
On Friday of each week, approximately 10 submissions are selected to be printed the following week. Priority is given to submissions that most strongly demonstrate the following qualities:
- originality (25%)
- academic need (25%)
- innovative, interesting, or meaningful (50%)
All submissions received by 9 a.m. Friday of each week are reviewed; those selected will be printed the following week. Submissions received after 9 a.m. each Friday will be reviewed the following Friday. Submitters will receive an email on Friday confirming whether their entry has been selected.
We recommend Tinkercad as a simple beginner-friendly program to create your own 3D model, however, several other software options are available on Digital Union computers. See this flowchart to help you decide. If you cannot create your own model, online communities such as Thingaverse and the Lulzbot Community, provide models or information for anyone to learn and download.
Cura LulzBot Edition
The Digital Union's 3D printing service is available to Ohio State students, faculty and staff to make three-dimensional objects in PLA plastic based on a user-submitted digital computer file (STL format).
The 3D printer may be used only for lawful purposes. No one will be permitted to use the 3D printer to create material that is:
Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the University environment.
In violation of another's intellectual property rights. For example, the printer will not be used to reproduce material subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
The Digital Union reserves the right to:
Refuse any 3D print request.
Use staff discretion to organize the print queue for overall efficient output.
Photograph all 3D objects printed; publicly share user-submitted information related to print jobs. Images and information will be used for monitoring, marketing.
Gather feedback from users.
Implement additional requirements to streamline the process of vetting, printing, and reporting.
3D printing through the Digital Union is free.
Items printed from the Digital Union 3D printer that are not picked up within 7 days after being printed become the property of the Digital Union. Items must be picked up by the individual who printed them, using his or her Buck-ID.
Only Digital Union and ODEE staff may have hands-on access to the 3D printer.
HOW TO PRINT
3D printing at the Digital Union is free. Read Terms above, then Use this online form to submit an STL file of the 3D model to you wish to print. Each week, approximately ten submissions are selected to be printed the following week. Therefore, lead time is typically 2 weeks. Priority is given to submissions that demonstrate academic need, originality, and innovative potential.
At Tech Hub
Tech Hub charges for printing, and employs less stringent selection criteria. Therefore, this option may allow you to receive your model quickly and at a relatively modest cost. Click here to print your model at Tech Hub.
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What if my submission isn't selected?
If you feel your submission strongly demonstrates the qualities prioritized, consider that it may have been rejected simply for the fact that we had reached our capacity for print jobs that week. You may try to submit again in the future. Otherwise, you may print your model at Tech Hub for a modest fee.
How long will I have to wait for my model to be printed?
Up to two weeks. Please account for the time it will take for your submission to be reviewed by staff (1 week) and placed through the print queue (1 week). Once your job reaches the printer, it may take anywhere from an hour to a couple of days to print, depending on the size, percentage infill, and complexity of the design. Once complete, staff will remove your model from the build plate and photograph it for our records or to use on our website. You will receive an email once your print is ready for pickup.
What colors of filament can I print at the Digital Union?
Black, white, red, and gray. During the submission process, you may indicate your color preference, which will be granted if available. If your color preference is not available, your object will be printed in one of the other colors listed unless you specify otherwise.
How large of an object can I print?
The maximum build volume is 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm (11.02 in x 11.02 in x 9.8 in). For other specifics, refer to the LulzBot Taz 6 manual.
Can I print without having to submit an STL file?
No. All users must go through the same submission process, which involves agreeing to the Terms, and providing an STL file of the object to be printed.
How is 3D printing relevant for education?
See examples of educational uses on 3D Printing Systems' website.