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Information Technology Services

IT Help Desk
Kansas State University
K-State Student Union
Cat's Pause Lounge
Manhattan KS 66506


3d Printing (Currently unavailable due to Hale Library fire)

How does it Work? 
  1. An object is either scanned by a 3D printer or its 3D specifications are entered into a computer application.
  2. Once the data is entered into the computer, it is sliced into two-dimensional layers, similar to that of salami, so the printer knows exactly how to print each layer.
  3. The printer uses these data to infuse layer upon layer in an additive process until the object is formed.

Files:  STL and OBJ are two common formats used for 3D imaging. 
  • STL (stereo lithography) – A file format native to the stereo lithography CAD software created by 3D Systems, the inventors of 3D printing; a surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without any representation of color, texture, or other common CAD (computer-aided design) model attributes.
  • OBJ – A three-dimensional object containing 3D coordinates, texture maps, and other object information; a standard 3D image format that can be exported and opened by several 3D image editing programs.
  • PLA filament- MakerBot PLA filament is a nontoxic resin made of sugar derived from field corn and has a semisweet smell (like waffles) when heated.
  • If you’re new to 3D printing, MakerBot PLA filament is a good material to start with because it’s easy to use and performs well on most prints.
  • MakerBot: Fifth-generation technology is a 3D printer option because of ease of use, quality, and reliability.
  • Powered by the new, user-friendly MakerBot Replicator 3D Printing Platform.

How much does it cost?

  • There is a $2.00 usage fee per print. Cost is $0.10 per gram of filament. Total cost is determined once your order is complete. Estimates can be given but may vary.

    Charges are added and confirmation is sent via email. Your print must be paid at pick up. Please pay and pick up your print at Equipment Checkout located in 212 Hale Library.

This photo shows the MakerBot (5th generation) Replicator at the Kansas State University Media Development Center

3D printing is a technology that allows you to take an idea, transfer it into a digital file, and produce an actual physical product. This allows users from various backgrounds to move from the realm of thought into an actual physical representation of an idea and has revolutionized the way a product is invented. 
There are many ways to print your own 3D product by using resources like thingiverse.com and Autodesk’s 123dapp.com/3D-printing. Both references house thousands of open-source printing files created by users that you can search for by subject, type, name, etc. They also allow users to contribute their own designs and share them with other users, creating a global environment and opportunity for 3D printer users. 

Environments for 3D Printing

This type of environment will allow students to produce models for prototyping, engineering, architecture, and various types of multimedia projects. 3D printing is not just the next wave of the future, it is the NOW and is currently being used all over the world. It also allows learners to visualize and use three-dimensional aids in the classroom environment, which in the past may have been a challenging concept to grasp. This environment also enhances a hands-on learning approach for tactual learners, meaning those who learn by doing. 
Scientists are currently using 3D printing to reproduce human organs. Universities, colleges, and even K-12 schools are beginning to incorporate 3D printing as a way to encourage tactual learners. This type of element encourages the users to think about learning and problem solving in a different manner.