Lessons Learned from 3D Printing Pilot

3D printing provides value whether it is creating an artifact for a class, a medical device that can help save lives, or a piece of otherwise costly equipment.

ODEE ran a 3D printing pilot last spring in two Digital Union locations: Enarson Classrooms Building and Prior Hall.

The response was overwhelming. In fact, there were so many submissions it became impossible to fulfill all the requests. The Digital Union team prioritized the submission process on academic purpose. The team also helped with design creation and dimension compatibility.

"We're looking for things that are creative solutions that save people time or money, and allows them to experiment in a meaningful way," said Queenie Chow, Digital Union Manager.  

The pilot exposed specific challenges and benefits. We learned that sometimes the room was too cold for the printer to function properly. A benefit was the proximity; if a printer happened to break down, we knew immediately, and had access to a nearby technician who could fix it.

Lessons learned from the pilot provided guidance on how to move forward with implementing a permanent plan for the 3D printers. 3D printing service will soon be available in the Stillman Hall Digital Union.

Stillman Hall DU is the new established location for the printers because it has a good amount of space for the printers, stable temperatures in the room and is located on central campus.

Some practices from the pilot translated over to the new printers. 3D printing will be offered free of charge once again. Anyone interested in having an item printed will submit a form to request their project. Then, DU staff will decide if it serves an academic purpose to justify printing. Ten submissions will be accepted per week, at least in the beginning. The prints will all be photographed for an archive of the awesome 3D printing projects that came to life in the DU.

This is an exciting opportunity for students, faculty and staff to establish creative ideas for a project or experiment through the use of the new 3D printers. We look forward to rolling out the service and details on the submission process in the coming weeks.

We take pride in offering students, faculty and staff the opportunity to experiment with new technology on campus. A lot of this equipment is prohibitively expensive, not just for an individual but for a college or department. We see value in the ideas that come from across campus, and want to be part of realizing those big ideas by providing the resources to let innovation happen.

Taung child skull used for an Anthropology class. ZEFIR (Zoned Endotracheal Full Intubation Respirator) is a prototype for an automatic robotic endoscope, which would be used to help someone who has a compromised airway.Holder of a production version of a camera filter adapter.