By Megan Palumbo – Sports Editor
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of building a three dimensional solid object from a digital file. About two years ago, Lasell’s Information Technology department (LIT) introduced this new machinery to the school with the help of Helpdesk Coordinator, Thomas Connors.
“The school bought these printers themselves. It was funded by the IT budget because there was interest from some faculty and our CIO, Deborah Gelch,” said Connors. “She is interested in getting a club started to build interest in this. It’s cool and she figures it’s an-other thing we can add to [Lasell].”
Lasell owns two 3D printers: the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer and the MakerGear M2. Connors explains there are tons of archives on the Internet with objects people have already made using a design software. Students can also create their own 3D objects using software like Blender and TinkerCad.
From here, the object is exported in a certain file format, analyzed, and instructions are sent to the printer. The time it takes to print an object varies because the machine is printing it one layer at a time. Lasell’s printers use PLA Plastic filament which is the same material used to make water bottles. The head element of the MakerBot is heated to 419 degrees Fahrenheit as it pushes the plastic through the nozzle and out on the platform.
“I think 3D printing is useful because it’s another way to express yourself through art. It’s great for making solar system scale models, 3D parts for fashion designs, and it represents how much of some-thing can fit in a specific space for math classes,” said Connors.
Lasell students now have the option to use 3D printing for projects in the classroom. After many trial and error attempts, the printers are running smoothly enough to be used for everyday projects.