During UNeMed’s Innovation Week, members of the UNMC Makers Club will facilitate the 3D Printing in Healthcare Panel. Expert panelists will discuss the potential of 3D printing in biomedical applications, what is possible today, and all that might be possible tomorrow.
Plus, during this event, you can register to win a free 3D printer to be given away during the Innovation Awards Ceremony and Reception on Oct. 6. (Must be present to win.)
Join us on Tuesday, October 4 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm in DRC 1002 (auditorium). Free lunch will be provided for the first 80 people. This event is co-sponsored by the McGoogan Library of Medicine.
The McGoogan Library Makerspace has a new 3D printer. In addition to our original MakerBot 5 single color 3D printer, we recently added a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. The 2X is a dual-extrusion 3D printer that allows two ABS filament colors to be printed at the same time through precisely aligned dual nozzles. Print jobs are now being accepted for the 2X 3D Printer via the 2-Color 3D Request Form. The 2X printer has the following color choices available: red, orange, yellow green, blue, purple, white, gray, black and natural. Please be aware that the 2X can handle most 3D objects that are ready for printing whether they are one color or two color, however for a 3D print job to be printed in two colors it must be pre-designed to print with two colors. As always the submitted 3D print jobs are limited to academic, clinical and research objects only.
3D printers are the next major technology item for many libraries. McGoogan currently has two printers, both from MakerBot: a 5th Generation single color printer and the double-extruder 2X model for printing two colors at once.
Requests are open to the UNMC and Nebraska Medicine, and we currently print objects for academic, clinical, and research use. As we’re still in the novelty and testing phase, we just never know how well the files are going to print! Just like a paper printer, some copies come out great and others are… not quite right. A lot depends on the file and type of printer it was designed for, but even more can be trial and error.
So how does it work (ideally)? Primarily, the files we use come from Thingiverse and Embodi, from Creative Commons files that other users have graciously uploaded. The printers use plastic filament (either PLA or ABS), which is colored and thicker than fishing line. The machine melts the filament and follows the pattern from the downloaded file, squirting a thin line of melted filament into a base and then the shape. When it comes to protrusions, the printer adds supports (to be removed later) to hold up sections that do not touch the build plate (such as the curved portion of a mandible). Inside, the honeycomb infill gives strength to the finished model.
So that’s how it’s supposed to work! But here are a few things we’ve learned along the way:
• PLA filament comes in a multitude of colors.
• ABS filament gives you a smoother build.
• Sorry, we cannot turn a photograph of your cat into a 3D print.
• 3D printers can jam, just like paper printers! If you catch it right away, you might be able to clear the jam and resume, otherwise you’ll end up with half a print. But the cool thing is that then you can see the inner workings of the build!
• It’s best to build on a raft so your print doesn’t fall over halfway through.
• Heated build plates bring their own list of problems when the models don’t want to stick.
• Large prints can take days. Our longest print took over three days.
Going into our third month, we’ve accepted 130 print jobs, most of which have been successful. Take a look at the photos to get an idea of the process!
As of Friday, May 22, 3D print requests will be limited to academic, clinical, and research objects. Library staff will have the discretion to determine if an object meets one of those three areas. If an object is questionable, staff will notify the requester for clarification of the objects intent.
3D printing is a rapidly expanding technology area and the McGoogan Library will soon join the growing number of public and academic libraries that have installed 3D printing areas in their facilities. The 3D printer renders a physical object from a digital model by the process of fused filament fabrication. Plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle that the computer moves, building layer upon layer from the base of the item upwards. The McGoogan Makerspace, located on the 6th floor of the library near the main entrance, will open the end of March. The space will be featured as part of a larger Innovation Open House at the Library on March 31 from 2:00-4:00 pm.
The Makerspace will be the home of a MakerBot Replicator, 5th Generation 3D Printer, a MakerBot Digitizer for scanning objects to be printed on the 3D printer and a workstation for creating 3D objects using 3D imaging software including MeshLab, NetFabb Basic, MakerBot MakerWare and MakerBot Desktop. UNMC students, faculty and staff will be able to submit objects to be printed on the 3D printer either through an online form or by bringing in a flash drive. Through September 2015 there will be no charge for printing an object. UNMC students, faculty and staff will be able to schedule time on the 3D workstation to create or refine objects they would like to print. All 3D printing will be handled by library staff.