3D printing makes a mark on campus

Alan Petukh/Staff Photographer

Alan Petukh/Staff Photographer

Students can be immersed in a three-dimensional printing world on campus thanks to Makerspace, an organization that promotes hands-on innovations and develops entrepreneurship.

The MakerBot Industries 3D printer that students can use was released for sale in February 2014, according to motherboard.com.

The printer located in the Walsh library cost approximately $3,500, and has the ability to print up to 10x8x6 inch objects, according to SHU’s department of Information Technology Instructional Designer, Riad Twal. This Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) printer came to campus in spring 2015.

This technology allows users to design and fabricate in three-dimensional form. Items such as cups and phone cases can be developed by a machine the size of a microwave.

Michael Gattas, a freshman physics and engineering major said that he has been taking advantage of the printing system at Seton Hall.

“I made an attachment for my pen which can be personalized. I can engrave my name or any design I want. There’s so many things you can make. I plan on using this machine a lot more,” Gattas said.

Students can create a design of any object to be printed by using Tinkercad, a free software used to create 3D models. Once the design has been created, it can be submitted on Seton Hall’s Makerspace website. If the design has been approved it will be printed and available for pick up in a few days.

Twal explained the 3D printing process on campus. A reel of colored filament, made from biodegradable thermoplastic polyester, is loaded into the printer. The filament is then melted from the machine’s toolhead and allotted onto a painter’s tape covered print bed, matching the pattern needed to be fulfilled, according to Twal.

The MakerBot prints in layers, each layer is approximately 0.2mm, causing the printing process to be timely, but thorough. Once the printing process is done, the finalized object is scraped off the painter’s tape and can then be used.

Students can become familiar with 3D printing by attending the Students Tech Bytes information
session on 3D printing at 2:30 p.m. on April 6 in the Walsh Library. Two sessions were previously held on March 14 and March 18 in the computer training classroom on the first floor of the library, one a faculty session and one a student session in which two other students attended.

Twal said that throughout the rest of this semester, students will be able to submit and print their designs free of charge. The following semester, students may be charged to print objects in accordance with a system similar to the way students print paper.

Further expanding the availability of coding software and 3D printing, Seton Hall’s Director of Technology, Danielle Mirliss, said there are plans to convert the computer training classroom into a Makerspace by the end of this summer.

Along with the opening of this new space, another MakerBot will be added to advance next year’s prospective workshops. These workshops will allow students to engage in various methods of 3D design and printing.

With the addition of these workshops, job positions for supervising and conducting these
workshops will become available to students.

“Starting this summer we will be looking for students who are competent in the field of coding and 3D printing. Students would bridge hours between regular staff by coming in during the evening and at night. However, hours can be flexible, since we will need students to help improve our workshops,” Mirliss said.

Positions will be available to students on Seton Hall’s online job board for the summer and fall 2016.

Alan Petukh can be reached at alan.petukh@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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