STS operates a 3D printing service with several different printers. The service is currently free for students and can be used for personal or school projects.
3D printing at STS
STS’ primary focus for 3D printing is for class-related projects. Personal and non-academic requests will take secondary consideration and added to the print queue on a first-come first-served basis. At no time will STS print any object that could be considered offensive, dangerous or harmful to the students or the general public. In review of all print requests the following acceptable use policy serves as a guideline:
- Request must abide by all applicable local, state and federal laws and University policies
- Students will not be allowed to create unsafe, harmful, or dangerous objects or those which replicate such objects, or pose an immediate threat to the well-being of persons or property. Pursuant to University policy, no weapons or life-like replicas of weapons are allowed on campus, nor may anyone produce them in the STS area. This includes parts of weapons, ammunition, and defensive as well as offensive weapons or any object which is regulated
- STS shall not print any obscene or otherwise inappropriate objects which they determine, in their sole discretion, are inappropriate and not conducive for a learning environment
- STS, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to decline any print request for any reason
- STS will not create or print any object in violation of another’s intellectual property rights related to patented, trademarked or copyrighted materials
- Only authorized STS staff shall have access to and use of STS 3D Printers
In addition, by utilizing the 3D printing service at STS, you are allowing your 3D prints to be used in advertisement and marketing for the 3D printer program.
Learn about 3D printing
What is it?
3D printing is one of the most commonly used terms for ‘additive manufacturing’, which is the process of creating a 3D object from digital data. There’s a variety of various 3D printing methods and uses in almost every industry today. You can read more about the technology and its history here or here.
How does it work?
Using CAD software, a 3D model is created (or modified from an existing model). The model is then imported into another software called a slicer. The slicing software is able to transform the model into a file format that 3D printers can read called gcode. The gcode file is then transferred to the 3D printer and is printed. After the object is printed, it often requires post-processing such as sanding or painting to reach its final form.
Why is it important?
3D printing is rapidly evolving into an interdisciplinary tool used beyond just engineering. With 3D printers and software becoming cheaper and easier to use, the barrier to entry for students, educators, and researchers has been lowered. It’s easy nowadays for people to download existing 3D models from websites or scan a real-world object to make a 3D file.
Who can use it?
3D printing has become increasingly popular in the professional, government, medical, and higher education industries within the last few years. In medicine, 3D printed instruments, implants, and external prostheses are being used in medical care to provide highly customized devices. Lawyers have used 3D printed models in product liability cases to provide courtroom evidence. Musicians are testing out 3D printed musical instruments, pushing the traditional mold of instruments into a new area.
How do I learn how to design and print files?
Where can I find 3D models?
How can I make my own 3D models?
There are many applications for creating 3D printing files these days. Some of the more popular ones are listed below:
- TinkerCAD = Beginner 3D CAD program that runs completely in the browser.
- AutoDesk Fusion 360 = A more advanced CAD software used by architects and engineers. Is free for educational use.
A more comprehensive list of 3D file editing tools can be found here.