Fab Lab of the Week: Dickinson College Media Center Adopts 3D Printing
This week’s featured Fab Lab is the Dickinson College Media Center, located in Carlisle, PA.
In their own words:
The Media Center is your media mecca. We help you create multimedia projects from simple graphics to short films. Our equipment office is available for students, faculty and staff to check out cameras, mics, audio recorders, light kits, green screens, dollies & much much more. We help you along your way from novice to expert and the center helps not only students working on class projects but anyone who needs assistance starting a project.
Recently, the Media Center has added 3D printing equipment to their selection of tools that students can use. The first 3D printer to arrive was a MakerBot.
The Media Center’s newest member, The MakerBot Replicator, is finally available! After several weeks of troubleshooting and trials, it is now fine tuned and ready to print your designs! Here is a look at the phases of the tuning process, through the creation of a unique Media Center keychain designed in Google Sketchup 8.
The MakerBot uses an Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, which is fed through the top of the extruder. The extruder is heated to ~220C or ~430F, which turns the ABS plastic into a viscous liquid. The extruder then positions itself just above the warm print surface and begins the expel the plastic in the formation designated by the 3D file. Each print begins with a “raft,” which is nothing more than a thick grid of ABS plastic, that allows for the MakerBot to ensure that the rest of the object is built upon a stable foundation. Below is a snapshot of the raft creation process.
It is great to see colleges embracing the future of 3D printing and giving their students a chance to innovate with the technology. Way to go Dickinson!