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3D printing is a process in which virtual designs are given physical form. Designs should be created prior to use of the printer. These can be executed with ease at home using free software listed below. Once ready to print, come with designs either in a USB flash drive, or accessible via email. A computer is available for these purposes just to the right of the printer.
- Makerbot Replicator +: This printer uses a material known as polylactic acid filament (PLA filament) --a corn-based thermoplastic. The transformation into solid form involves the melting of PLA filament, which is then squeezed out onto the build plate in thin lines to construct the object through a series of layering. Within the build chamber, the expressed PLA filament is able to cool slowly, allowing the product to solidify. This process is known as "fused deposition modeling," or FDM. While PLA filament can be more brittle than other types, it remains relatively easy to work with, and is ideal when just starting out.
- File types printable on the MakerBot are .STL and .OBJ.
- Printing from the Makerbot printer will be charged at a rate of $0.10 per gram of material used plus a $2.00 service fee.
- Markforged Onyx: This printer uses a different type of filament known as Onyx chopped carbon fiber filament, a plastic which results in both a strong and flexible material. Due to the material properties, the resulting product is often very durable and is at reduced risk of thermal deformation or warping as it is expressed onto the build plate.
- File types printable on the MakerBot are .STL
- Printing from the Markforged printer will be charged the cost of material used as indicated in the printer software (approximately $0.20 per gram) plus a $2.00 service fee.