Students Learn 3D Printing in the Library

Hi! This is Tim Bostelle, the Head of IT for the Library with an update on the Student Technology Fee Committee (STFC) funded 3D Printing program. Last year, the STFC awarded the Library a brand new Prusa i3 Mark 3s 3D printer under the promise that the Library would initiate a “self-print” program for students.

This summer, we ordered the printer, built the printer, and in Fall started training students how to print their own jobs. So far, we have trained 30 students and they have printed 41 jobs. Those 41 jobs have taken over 163 hours to print and have used almost 2kg of filament (around 1600 grams).

One of my favorite jobs from last quarter was by a student who created a model of three parts of a neuron, the pre-synaptic terminal, and two post synaptic spines. She had to make the models herself and then convert them into STL so that they could be printed. We also had several technical problems to overcome: the models had a lot of sharp angles which are often difficult to print. She sent me a photo of the final project:

Purple = pre-synaptic terminal White = post synaptic spine 1 Gray = post synaptic spine 2

The purple object is a pre-synaptic terminal
The white object is a post synaptic spine 1
And the gray is a post synaptic spine 2

I have to admit that training students on how to use the 3D printer and then seeing them go from idea to real object all on their own is one of the best parts of my job!

If you’re a student interested in learning how to use the 3D printer in the library drop me an email ( and I will schedule a class with you. We also have a web page with more information about the printer and our printing program.

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