3-D printing is becoming more popular in many learning environments across the world, and Durham College is no exception.
With multiple 3-D printers available for use on campus for students and faculty, DC offers various programs the opportunity for hands-on learning with these high-tech devices.
Librarians from the campus library are showing off one of their 3-D printers in Vendor’s Alley in the SW Wing hallway until April 12, from 11 until 2.
3-D printers are an expensive piece of technology, and the library’s medium-sized printer averages at around $1,500.
3-D printers use a PLA filament (a biodegradable plastic), which is heated to produce designs based on templates or software programmed into the machine.
Despite the price, the campus library allows students from both Durham College and UOIT to use the printer for $1.50 per hour. People different departments at DC use the machine in classrooms for projects, assignments, and personal business ventures.
Kate Gibbings is a librarian in charge of the 3-D printers in the library. She says students from different programs use the printers frequently.
“Engineering students use the 3-D printer for design projects, such as robotics. Business students will use it to create mock-up prototypes for products,” she says. “Even animation and gaming students use the machine for creating character designs. Many of these departments have 3-D printers for their program’s private use, but anyone can use ours in the library.”
Gibbings also says students from the nursing programs use the 3-D printers to create anatomy models of the human body, such as the heart or brain.
Many students on campus passing by stopped to check out the 3-D printer on their way to class, learning about its functions and capabilities.
Gibbings says 3-D printing software is available for students if they know where to look.
“Students can find designs online through different software and websites to be able to 3-D print, sometimes for free for beginners,” she says. “However, many programs at DC where students frequently use the printer will actually provide students with software in class.”
The 3-D printer and representatives from the campus library will be showcasing the device until Thursday at 2 p.m. in Vendor’s Alley (SW Wing). For more information, visit Durham College’s website.