The DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library at the University of Nevada, Reno is the first academic library in the United States to make the leap to offer 3D printing and scanning as a library service to all students, enabling students in a multitude of disciplines to make plastic 3D models from a computer drawing for their research and studies.
“We’ve brought the technology out of the lab and into access for all students,” Tod Colegrove, director of the DeLaMare library, said. “It’s a first for university’s around the country where the machines are typically part of a specialized program or research lab.” .
Using specialized software, the machine can build a three-dimensional, real world plastic model from a computerized drawing of an object. It can be as simple as a box or as complex as a protein chain from a theoretical model. The model can be inspected, modifications can be made in the drawing and another prototype printed.
“3D printers are typically purchased by a faculty member with grant funds in support of a particular research project, and installed in isolated departmental locations,” Colegrove said. “Printers remain largely inaccessible to students and faculty outside of a select few. We’ve changed that.”
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