Heading back to the classroom: 3D printer training

 

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The class crowds around as one participant prepares the machine for printing, including leveling the build plate and loading filament into the extruder

As many of you know, the Bay Shore Library has received a 3D printer, thanks to a ‘Medical Library Project’ grant to provide the funds for the printer and its materials. In order to prepare for its integration into courses as well as use in the Library, Touro Librarians along with Professors and IT staff members headed back to the classroom for a two-day MakerBot training course.

Day one of the course began with a broad introduction to the world of 3D printing, and then narrowed in scope to focus on the basics of the MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation machine, specifically hardware and accessories.

The software applications required to create a 3D print were also discussed.  Participants learned how to navigate MakerBot Desktop, the software that created the type of files necessary to print as well as communicates directly with the 3D printer.  Then we ventured into Thinigverse, a virtual community for discovering, creating, and sharing 3D printable objects!

An example of one participant’s test print – the print came out much smaller than was initially anticipated!
An example of one participant’s test print – the print came out much smaller than was initially anticipated!

At the close of day one, each participant selected a design from Thingiverse to test print.  The print would be ready the following morning for review.

Day two began with a review of the test prints.  This hands on exercise provided all participants a great deal of information about the printing process, including how to manipulate the size of an object (and the ramifications of it!), whether or not to use supports when printing, how to determine how much infill is needed for a print, and other best practices.

Designing 3D files was the focus of day two, specifically through handson exercises in creating original design files – first, up was TinkerCad.  TinkerCad, is a free web based software allows users to create 3D models by using pre-designed shapes.  Thus anyone can create a 3D file without knowing CAD (computer-aided design).

A birdhouse design created in class by using the shapes on the toolbar on the right side of the screen.
A birdhouse design created in class by using the shapes on the toolbar on the right side of the screen.

And at the other end of the design spectrum is sculptris. Sculptris is a digital sculpting tool where users begin with a “ball of clay” and use various tools and methods to sculpt a 3D design.  Sculptris involves a much more organic approach to creating a 3D design file.

Overall, the MakerBot training course provided participants with a much greater understanding of the capabilities of the 3D printer, along with excitement and a bit of confidence in using the machine!

Stop into the Bay Shore Library and see the machine in action, take a look at the items we’ve printed in the past few weeks, or learn more about 3D printing (Check out 3D Printing for Dummies currently on reserve, but also available as an e-book). Stay tuned for updates!

Contributed by: Rachel Oleaga, Assistant Librarian, Bay Shore

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under Contract No. HHSN-276-2011-00003-C, with the University of Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

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