Lee University now has two of its very own 3D printers, located in the Squires Library, which are available for student and faculty use in creating an array of objects and materials.
Lee purchased the first 3D printer nearly four years ago and acquired the second printer this past year. Despite having the two printers available for use, few students are aware of the resource and how the 3D printing process works.
In order to produce these creations, the printer goes through a process of heating the desired type of material until it is melted. Next, the object is formed and then printed out through the raised printer’s head.
3D printing is often referred to as additive manufacturing, as the process can include working with many different materials and layering to create the desired product.
According to research coach Dr. Michael Sturgeon, plastic, nylon and carbon fiber are just a few of the materials compatible with 3D printers.
Lee students have used the printers to create items such as costume masks, coasters and objects for science projects for just 20 cents per gram, according to Sturgeon.
“We have access to a resource where we can look up anything and it will give us the 3D image file in order to print the image,” Sturgeon said.
Science major and iMass scholar Katherine Moore is just one student who has utilized the 3D printer after becoming aware of the resource on campus through a project with her class.
“We made coasters as keepsakes for iMass,” said Moore. “It was really cool how detailed the printer is. I hope we get to use it more in future class projects.”
Digital media major and library student worker Taylor Lane has made SD card holders, camera lens caps and other media equipment parts with the printers.
According to Lane, the printers are not only user-friendly, but also save money by printing objects that usually would have to be bought for a higher price.
“Economically it makes more sense,” Lane said. “You could spend 25 cents to make [an SD card holder] or spend 25 dollars to buy one.”
Students who are interested in using the 3D printers can access information on the 3D printer tab on William J. Squire’s On Campus Student Resources page.
Those interested can also contact Squires Library’s Public Services Desk at campus extension 8551 or 8562. Printers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.