Feb.16, 2013

3D printing is now available at Dalhousie Libraries. This project, providing 3D printing service to patrons at a low cost, is the first of its kind at Dalhousie University. Dalhousie University becomes also one of the first Canadian libraries to buy one.

Michael Groenendyk and Riel Gallant, two students in Dal's Master of Library and Information Studies program, led the project.

Seeing the possibilities that 3D printing could revolutionize library services, the two pitched the idea to Dal Killam Libraries. The Libraries responded with full support and contributed the funding necessary for the purchase of the 3D printer and 3D scanner.

A MakerBot Replicator 3D printer is purchased and now running at the Killam Library. Users are able to print their 3D models by sending an STL file to the Help Desk through Filedrop. With very little cost, $1 an hour — or about the time it takes to print an object about the size of a one-inch cube, users creations are transformed into small, plastic models in few hours.

"3-D printing provides opportunities for self-education," says Mr. Groenendyk. "Engineering and architecture students will be able to create and manipulate 3-D designs in programs like AutoCAD and then print extremely cheap prototype versions of their designs, which they can review and rework as they see fit."

Dalhousie Libraries has also created an open access 3D model repository which allows users to be able to share the data.

In addition to the 3D printer, Dalhousie Libraries also have a 3D scanner, which can scan physical objects (historical artifacts, for example) and turn them into a digital file. Users can then take that one step further and print out the digital file on Makerbot Replicator 3D printer.

Check out the video below, the CBC's David Thurton visited Dalhousie University to get a look at their new printer that's open to the public.


Images source: Dalhousie Libraries





Posted in 3D Printing Services


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