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Emerging Technologies in the Library

Overview of emerging technologies & services in the Library at LSC-Montgomery.

Fabrication Station

Fabrication Station | MakerBot Replicator+ [3D printer], MakerBot Software, and MakerBot Digitizer [3D scanner]

The Fabrication Station is a station equipped with technology that will let you create 3-dimensional objects.  

3D printing is the process of making an object by depositing material (e.g., plastic), one tiny layer at a time onto a build plate (a component of a 3D printer).  The creating or printing of the object is guided by a 3-dimensional blueprint captured in a computer file.  3-dimensional blueprints can be developed using design software or obtained from Online repositories.  The Library's 3D printer uses PLA (polylactic acid) material, a biodegradable plastic, in its production of objects.  

3D scanning is the process of creating a 3 dimensional computer model of a physical object.  The scanning device captures the dimensions of a real-world object and converts the captured data into digital form.  The digital form can be saved as a file and printed as a 3 dimensional object using a 3D printer.  

  • Makerbot Replicator+ (3D Printer)
  • MakerbotDigitizer (3D Scanner)
  • Computer 
  • Makerbot Replicator+ Software
Getting Started:
  • Outline a project plan - review the Planning section (under 3D Printing tab)
  • Make a reservation - allow time to upload and modify your file, if necessary
  • Bring your portable drive with 3D model file or real-world object to appointment 
  • Bring signed forms to appointment
  • Meet with a Librarian and get started 

Fabrication Station - Programs & Tools

  • You can use 3D design software to create an original model to print, or you can select a pre-designed model from an online repository (resources listed below)
  • The object cannot exceed the size of the build plate in the 3D printer -  3.9 W x 3.9 D x 4.9 H (inches)
  • The model file must be in .stl, .obj.thing, or .PRINT format.  Other file formats are not compatible with the Library's 3D printing technology.  
  • 3D print jobs do not print in a matter of minutes.  3D print jobs usually range from 1-4 hours.  The larger the file, the slower the printing process.  To learn how long your print job might take, follow the steps outlined in the document below.  Print times cannot exceed 8 hours.  
  • Review some of the help resources related to printing before your appointment
3D Object Online Repositories: 

Pre-Designed 3D Models

Thingiverse  Thingiverse is a digital repository that will let you discover and use more than 1 million 3D models.
NIH 3D Print Exchange The NIH (National Institutes of Health) 3D Print Exchange is a digital repository that provides 3D-printable models related to biomedical science.
Smithsonian X3D  The Smithsonian XD3 is a web portal that will let you create 3D renderings of its vast and fascinating collections of more than 137 million objects
3D Design Software:

Create Your Own 3D Model

Tinkercad  Tinkercad is a free browser-based 3D design tool that will let you develop your own 3D models for printing.
Blender Blender is a free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.
  • Select a real-world object to scan/digitize
  • The object must fit within the 8 x 8 in scanning bed and it must rest firmly (stable) in the bed
  • Each scan takes approximately 15 minutes
  • Review some of the help resources related to scanning/digitizing before your appointment
3D Scanner:
Makerbot Digitizer Quickly turn things in your world into 3D models that you can modify, improve, share, and print.