New 3D Printer for Art + Design

We are pleased to announce the arrival of the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer! Mindy has been working tirelessly to figure it all out. While the 3D printer is not yet ready for orders, students are welcome to swing by to see it in action. The printer is currently located in Mindy’s office in the back of the Tech Center. Come see the 3-D printer in trial and error mode, and check out some sample models. It is quite impressive to watch!

The MakerBot heats PLA filament (a biodegradable plastic) and extrudes it onto a build platform in layers, from the bottom to the top of the design until the entire model has become a reality – a plastic replica. Amazing!

The file type needed for use with the MakerBot is STL, or .stl. If you are using SketchUp to create your 3D models, you will need to install the STL plug-in from the SketchUp Warehouse, which will allow you to save your file with this extension. The MakerBot Thingiverse website is a great resource which allows you to explore, share, download and alter 3-D files, many of which can be printed using the Replicator 2.

The Replicator 2 is a printer only, and does not have built-in scanning capabilities. To capture existing objects as digital 3-D information, the free application Autodesk 123D Catch may be an option. The application generates a 3-D model from up to forty still images of a single object. A 3-D scanner may be an item that the Tech Center will have in the future.

As with the laser cutter, Mindy will be the operator of the MakerBot, and once she works out all the kinks, this will be another asset to the Art + Design Department for its students to use. In the near future, instructions on how to submit files for the MakerBot will be on website.