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3D Printing Drop-off & Scanning Service: Printing FAQs

Guide to the University Libraries' 3D Printing Services

Can you print a gun or facsimile?

NO, Miami University Libraries will not print a working firearm or the constituent parts to build your own "ghost" firearm.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing refers to rapid prototyping - creating a physical 3-dimensional object from a digital model. There are several types of 3D printers. The printer that we use is the MakerBot Replicator which performs Fused Deposition Modeling - FDM to create the final 3d printed object. In this method, a lightweight plastic filament that when fed through the nozzle is heated up to its melting point and then extruded onto a build plate surface, hardening upon impact. This process continues, depositing the melted filament layer by layer until a 3-dimensional object is formed.

What are some examples of practical uses for 3D printing?

3D prints can be found useful in numerous applications, such as prototypes for entrepreneurs, architectural models for class projects and for any other low-volume, custom-prototype needs. Here are some examples of practice use in an educational environment:

  • Architecture - printing their 3D models to further enhance their understanding of structures
  • Fine arts - creating 3D objects from their digital designs; incorporating 3D prints into their other mediums; designing and 3D printing jewelry, sculptures, etc.
  • Visual communication design - creating prototypes of product designs and packaging
  • 3D animation - creating 3D printed objects from their designs
  • Engineering - creating 3D prototypes of their designs in order to fully understand their engineering design principles and to experience the challenges that are encountered along the way
  • Advertising / marketing / business / entrepreneurs - having a 3D prototype of the item that they are selling, to show their clients
  • Nursing / medicine - creating 3D replicas of anatomy
  • Archaeology / paleontology - creating 3D replicas of fragile relics for study (ex. creating replicas of fossils in order to study their movement, etc.)
  • Forensics - incorporating 3D printing into crime scene investigation (ex. creating 3D replicas of evidence, such as footprints, or skeletal remains and facial reconstruction)
  • Chemistry / physics / biology - creating accurate 3D visual aids such as DNA or chemical reactions

Who can use the 3D printing service?

Our 3D printers are open to all currently enrolled Miami University students, Faculty and Staff in all disciplines. The actual printing process is done through our consultants located at either King Library, the CIM lab or BEST Library.

What is the timeline for builds?

For any build, at least three days to a week lead time is strongly recommended.  This allows time for troubleshooting at various stages of the build process.  While we will work with you to make shorter timeframes, we cannot make guarantees for when a build will be finished.  For some prints – particularly larger objects on the smaller print volume platforms – the build process is less reliable than our professional printer and it sometimes takes more than one attempt or build tactic.  The printers also require considerable maintenance to keep running reliably, and they may need to be taken offline unexpectedly. 

We often find that submitted CAD models have flaws which need to be corrected before printing.  (In our experience this is often the case with SketchUp models, though it can happen with any software.)  Sometimes this is not apparent onscreen and is undiscovered until we attempt to print the model.  In these cases we will work with you to correct the flaws in the model.  This of course also slows turnaround time.

How large of an object can you build?

The maximum build volume for the Makerbot Replicator 2X as described by the Makerbot company is 246mm X x 154mm Y x 152mm Z (9.7" x 6.1" x 6") with minimum layer height .15mm up to .27mm. 

The maximum build volume for the MakerGear M2 as described by MakerGear is 203.2mm X x 254mm Y x 203.2mm Z (8" x 10" x 8") with a minimum layer height of 0.1mm 

The maximum build volume for the F306 as described by Fusion3 is 306mm X x 306mm Y x 306mm Z (12" x 12" x 12") with a minimum layer height of 0.1mm 

The maximum build volume for the Dimension 1220es as described by Stratasys is 254mm X x 254mm Y x 306mm Z (10" x 10" x 12") with a minimum layer height of 0.254mm 

Examples of what can be 3D printed

Archeology

3D Scanned and Printed Bottle

Cthulhu

Archeology

Cylinder Seal

Archeology

Cylinder Seal

Archeology

Cylinder Seal

Star Wars

Death Star

DNA

With Supports

DNA

Without Supports

Archeology

Idol Vase

Architecture

Design project, Wall Panel

Puffball Mushroom

3D scanned and printed at BEST Library

Puffball Mushroom

3D scanned and printed at BEST Library

Archeology

3D scanned and Printed point

Physics

Custom designed physics lab parts

Archeology

Monkey Seal 3D scanned and printed

Physics

Custom designed physics lab parts

Archeology

Cylinder Seal

Custom Design

License Plate Holder

Custom Design

Miami "M"

Custom Design

Lock Box

Custom Design

Quad-copter chassis

Architecture

Custom Designed Artwork

Business

Entrepreneur Prototype

Custom Design

Field equipment