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Media Center 3D Printing

This page is under construction.

The Media Center contains a 3D Lab with (currently) FlashForge Dreamer printers. They are available to anyone that has a Thing that they want to have 3D printed. Things may be printed with ABS plastic or PLA. A variety of colors are available.

ABS: Best used for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA, ABS plastic is less ‘brittle.’ It can also be post-processed with acetone to provide a smoother finish. 

PLA: PLA is useful in a broad range of printing applications. PLA plastic is also one of the more eco-friendly 3D printer materials available; it is made from annually renewable resources (corn-starch) and requires less energy to process compared traditional (petroleum-based) plastics. Outside of 3D printing, PLA plastic is often used in food containers, such as candy wrappers, and biodegradable medical implants, such as sutures.

Preparation

The Internet has many Things that you may download for printing. Some of them are free and some charge a fee. Generally, the more complex the Thing is the higher the price. You may also design your own Thing.

Software is available to help you design your own. Solidworks (There is a charge but available to Engineering students). Free software includes: TinkerCAD, 123D, and SketchUp.

The print volume of the Dreamer is 23 x 15 x 14 cm.

The result of your design (or download) is a file with an STL file extension.

Printing

Once you have an STL file you can use free software (FlashPrint) to set it up for printing on our printers. Point your browser to https://www.flashforge.com/support-center/dreamer/, navigate to "Software & Firmware" and click on "Download Now" to download FlashPrint.

Quick print with FlashPrint:
Start FlashPrint by double clicking on the icon. Click on the "Load: and navigate to your Thing.STL file.
Click on the Thing then double click the "Extruder" button. Click on the left extruder. (Usually ABS will be on the left.) Then click the "X" to close the window.
Then click "Print" at the top just to the right of the center.
Then click OK and it will make a Thing.gz file. Then it will start "slicing the model".
When done it will show a screen with the number of layers at the top left.
On the upper right will be the printing time and how much filament it will take.
The charge for printing if $0.25/meter.

(And this is the simple explanation. There are many option along the way that were skipped.)

If you are connected to the 3D Printer clicking "Print" here will send the files to the connected printer and printing will start.
If not, take the file (on a USB drive) to the 3D Lab in the Media Center.
The circ desk worker will show you to the 3D Lab.
Plug your USB drive into a computer and tell FlashPrint to load the last saved file (Thing.gz). .

Contact Us

If you have questions or want to schedule a meeting, contact us via an email address below or stop by the Media Center on the top floor of the James White Library.

Steve Sowder x6242

Updated June 5, 2018