3D Printing Comes to OTS Student Computing Services

photo from front top of Ultimaker 3 printing a yellow objectProsthetic limbs, design prototypes, replacement parts, custom tools, topographical models, personalized spatulas: all objects that have been produced with 3D printers and just a few examples of what TU students might print when OTS Student Computing Services (SCS) launches its 3D printing facilities in the fall.

At the heart of the operation are two Ultimaker 3 fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. Somewhat analogous to a glue gun, an FDM printer extrudes a fine bead of melted filament—in our case, a type of plastic commonly referred to as PLA—building, layer by layer, from the bottom up. 

Student on laptop in front of Ultimaker 3Research data on the long-term health implications of FDM printer emissions is a bit sparse at this time, but rest assured that PLA filament is widely regarded to have a very low threat potential. Nevertheless, in consultation with TU Environmental Health & Safety, OTS elected to install a filtration system until more is known of the risks.

While SCS is still developing operational standards and reservation protocols, we are confident in our September November 2018 launch target and will share additional details via Fresh Tech as they become available. Faculty who would like to visit SCS for a demonstration are invited to email rcave@towson.edu.

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Cave, Bob