3D Printed Objects
The RI MML provides access to the Lulzbot Mini 3D printer, a high performance, easy-to-use FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer. Leveraging this additive technology, students are poised to produce objects originally developed in 3D modeling software. Much like a hot glue gun, 3D printers extrude plastic through a heated nozzle, laying up material incrementally as defined by the slicing software.
Students are introduced to the process of preparing files for the 3D printer, as well as overseeing the printing process. Whether accessing content online through Thingiverse.com, or developing content in advance of the engagement through Tinkercad.com, the goal is to move from digital to physical, placing objects in students’ hands.
In preparation for your RI MML visit, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with objects & models that are typically available for free at Thingiverse.com (Thingiverse is a website dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files licensed under the the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses). Students are encouraged to find an object of their choice & download an STL file, which is compatible with 3D printers. Alternatively, students can design their own keychain/name plate at Tinkercad.com or at the very least familiarize themselves with the program.
Software access & training not provided at this time.
Exposure to design process
Exposure to design/fabrication problem solving
Understanding the general functions & interface of an FDM 3D printer
Understanding of the general functions/interface of CAD software and 3D model slicing software
Knowledge of industry applications and/or jobs
Twelve 3D Printers accomodate a cohort of ~12 active participants. Depending on the size of the cohort, participants can work individually or in pairs.
Students enter trailer and are given a description of 3D printer technology and how it works.
After importing their files, students will prepare the files for printing (with assistance from MML staff if needed).
Once files are properly prepared, they are transferred to SD cards to begin printing.
Upon completion, students will receive their print.
Depending on the print, some finishing work may need to be done, this will be used to demonstrate how support structures apply to FDM printing.
Once all prints are completed, students will receive a follow-up overview of the 3D printing process and there will be time for questions.
Depending on the number of students and allotted time, prints may need to be downsized or simplified in order to be completed within the timeframe.
3D printing is still a developing technology and is not perfect; prints sometimes fail and the printers themselves will occasionally malfunction or break.