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New 3-D printers add promising dimensions to Douglass Library

August 20, 2014
New 3-D printers add promising dimensions to Douglass Library

Though they were introduced with little fanfare, near the end of the spring semester, the two new 3-D printers at the Douglass Library have already begun to attract a growing and enthusiastic audience.

Announced in April 2014 with a story on the Libraries’ website and signage in the library, and situated in the Fordham Commons area, the 3-D printers have brought in dozens of Rutgers faculty, students, and staff users as well as members of the surrounding communities.

Working with Stacey Carton, the Fordham Commons manager, and using the software and print files available on the computers in the Commons, visitors have produced a diverse array of items. Objects printed on the 3-D printers include architectural models, a toy spaceship, key-chains for student workers, prototype components for a tobacco pipe, a ring, a gyroscope, a holding case for a computer card (Arduino microcontroller), a giraffe, and a house fly.

The arrival of the 3-D printers and the different objects they have generated also been celebrated in different media by enthusiastic users, with multiple excited messages on Twitter, an article in the online publication New Brunswick Today, and prominent mention in an overview of 3-D printing at Rutgers in the Graduate School-New Brunswick student blog.

The Douglass Library also recently purchased a 3-D scanner to be used with the 3-D printers. The scanner enables users to duplicate an existing object, often a less time-intensive approach then designing an object or locating and downloading someone else’s design. The scan volume is 8” by 8” and the scanner saves to .stl or .thing files that can be edited or converted to .x3g files that work with the 3-D printers. Stacey and other Fordham Commons staff can assist users in operating the scanner and saving files to their flash drives.

The two 3-D printers were obtained by the Douglass Library through a New Jersey Library Makerspaces grant, made by the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ. The Douglass Library is one of only 15 public, school, and academic libraries across New Jersey to receive this grant.

For information on how to use one of the 3D printers, such as pricing and compatibility of formats, go to:
http://libguides.rutgers.edu/FabLab.  

For other questions and to arrange a time to print, please contact Stacey Carton, manager of the Fordham Commons, at sacarton@rci.rutgers.edu.