Michigan State University

Frequently Asked Questions For:

3D Printing

3D Scanning

Laser Cutting

Vinyl Cutting

Technology Lending

3D Printing

How does 3D Printing fit in an Academic Library? How does it advance the Libraries' Mission?

  • By supporting the University's mission of preservation, creation, transmission and application of knowledge

  • By providing access to resources to serve educational needs

  • Through appropriate facilities and quality service by helpful and expert staff using current technologies, collaborative strategies, and expanding information networks

  • By providing an essential facility where emerging and established scholars access information and gather in an atmosphere conducive to learning and other creative endeavors

What is 3D printing? How does it work?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. Our 3D printer uses a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), in which a plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle which melts the plastic. Computer-controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. The object is built this way, one layer at a time, from the bottom up.

What are some practical uses of 3D printing?

There are a multitude of practical applications for 3D printing, from aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models; it is used for low-volume, custom, or on-demand manufacturing.

What software can you use to make printable 3D models?

There are many different programs that can produce printable 3D models. Most 3D modeling software will output the filetype we can convert, the .stl file. Solid modeling CAD software is much more likely to produce a successful print than surface modeling software. A few popular options are SolidWorks, Inventor, 3DS Max, Blender, Creo, AutoCAD, Rhino 3D, Sketchup and Tinkercad.

If you don't want to create your own, you can check the MakerBot Thingiverse archives for objects, models, and designs that you can bring in to be printed.

How do I get my file printed?

To print a model, please upload your file through the 3D print submission form or bring your file (in .STL file format) to the Selma D. and Stanley C. Hollander MakeCentral makerspace. We’ll help you, estimate how much it will cost, and estimate how long it will take to print your model. We'll add your model to our printing queue and you can pay when you pick it up.

How detailed can the 3D printers get?

Our newest 3D printer has our highest resolution at 0.007mm. Our two other machines (MakerBot Replicators) are able to print to a resolution of 0.100mm.

What is the largest object I can print on the Make Central 3D printers?

The Fortus has our largest maximum printing dimensions at 12L x 12W x 10H inches

What materials are available to print with?

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) - Our MakerBot Replicators is the only printer we have that is capable of printing with PLA plastic. MakerBot PLA Filament is a bioplastic derived from corn. It is guaranteed not to contain any heavy metals, phthalates or BPA. Want further information about PLA? Visit MakerBots MSDS.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) - ABS is an oil-base plastic which allows it to have a higher melting point as well as being sturdier. The down side of this material is that it is not recyclable. For further information look visit Stratasys MSDS page.

Can I have a model printed in multiple colors?

No, multi-colored printing is not currently an option on our 3D printers.

Is the library the first place at MSU to have 3D printers?

No, we are not, but we are the first to offer 3D printing services to all MSU students, faculty, staff, and the community.

 

3D Scanning

What is 3D scanning?

3D scanning allows the user to create a 3D model from a real world object.

How long is the checkout period for the Structure Scanner?

The checkout period for the Structure scanner is 3 days.

Who is allowed to check out the Structure Scanner?

Any student, staff, faculty or community borrower can check out the Structure Scanner.

Late Fees

All equipment is to be returned to a staff member at the Hollander MakeCentral Service Desk on the second floor of the west wing in the Main Library. A late fee of $1.00/hour applies to all equipment returned after the time and date it is due.

Liability

All borrowables fall under the MSU Libraries Lending Policies.

 

Laser Cutting

What is a laser cutter?

A laser cutter uses a laser to precisely melt, burn or vaporize a variety of materials in accordance with your design file.

What can you use our laser cutter for?

Our laser cutter can engrave or cut up to 1/4" thick wood, 1/4" acrylic, and a variety of other materials subject to the MakeCentral staff approval, to make models, art and more.

What materials are available?

We stock acrylic, MDF and soft maple in varying thickness between 1/8" and 1/2".

Are you able to bring in your own material?

Yes, you are able to bring in your material. The material must be 1/2" or thinner. If you plan to cut through the material you will sacrifice a 2"x3" section of the material for machine set up testing. All customer provided materials are subject to approval by the Makerspace Coordinator.

 

Vinyl Cutting

What is a vinyl cutter?

Vinyl cutters use a blade to precisely cut patterns that you design. Our vinyl cutter can be used to make decals for your car, wall, window, or any other flat surface!

What materials can it cut?

It is able to cut standard vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, paper, craft paper, card stock, and paint mask. We currently only carry standard vinyl and a small supply of heat transfer vinyl.

Can I bring in my own material?

You are allowed to bring in your own materials. There is a fee associated with the use of the equipment. All materials are subject to approval by the Makerspace Coordinator.

 

Technology Lending

What is Technology Lending?

The Selma D. and Stanley S. Hollander MakeCentral makerspace has a variety of starter kits for electronic development and other technology. Kits have components to start using the electronics immediately and can be checked out at the Hollander MakeCentral Service Desk (2W). Loan periods between the different equipment and kits does vary. This service is available for students, faculty, staff, and the public!

What is available for checkout?

SparkFun Inventors Kit, Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi Camera Module, Makey Makey, FLORA GPS Kit, Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits, Structure Scanners, Canon digital cameras, Vangaurd tripods, digital calipiers, digital multimeter, and a SST liquid level meter. Look at the Technonlgy Lending page for more information.

Who is allowed to check out the Tech Kits and equipment?

Any student, staff, faculty or community borrower can borrow tech kits.

How long is the checkout period?

The checkout period for borrowable tech is between 3 and 21 days depending on the kit or equipment.

Late Fees

All equipment is to be returned to a staff member at the Hollabder MakeCentral Service Desk on the second floor of the west wing in the Main Library. A late fee of $1.00/hour applies to all equipment returned after the time and date it is due.

Liability

All borrowable tech falls under the MSU Libraries Lending Policies.