3D printing is now available to all in the Killam Learning Commons! This pilot project, the goal of which is to incorporate 3D printing as a regular service to patrons at a low cost, is the first of its kind at Dal. [Note: As of September 2014, the price of 3D printing is 8 cents per gram. 3D printing is available at four Dal Libraries locations: Killam, Kellogg, MacRae, and Sexton.]
3D printing is the process of creating physical objects by building layers of quickly-hardening material one on top of the other. This technology has been around since the 1980s, used mostly by engineers and industry designers. The popularity of 3D printing has grown outside of these disciplines thanks to the efforts of the 3D printer hobbyist community, who have made it cheaper and more accessible.
For this project, Dalhousie Libraries is using a Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer. Users will be able to print their 3D models by sending an STL file to the Help Desk through Filedrop to the address 3Dprinting@dal.ca.
You can create STL files by using 3D modelling programs such as SolidEdge or Google SketchUp. If you don’t have any 3D modelling experience, take a look at Thingiverse.com. Thingiverse has a number of STL files free for download, so check it out and see if there’s anything you want to print.