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3D Printer: Policy

Policy for Using the 3D Printer and Scanner

Policy for 3D Printing and Scanning in the
Stark Campus Library

The following policy describes how the 3D printer and scanner currently available in the Stark Campus Library can be used. Please consult library staff if you have questions or concerns regarding the use of the printer or scanner.

The 3D Makerbot printer is currently located on the first floor near the reference collection. Although it is an advantage having it on display in a public area, the printer may be relocated to a room on the first floor, if its presence becomes a disturbance due to noise or other factors. The scanner (digitizer) is connected to the Help Desk computer and can be used to create 3D files of physical objects (with a maximum size of 8 inches diameter X 8 inches high). The 3D printer can print objects up 10 inches X 8 inches X 6 inches.

Usage Priority and Scheduling
Under the supervision of library staff, anyone can submit a file or object for printing or scanning. 3D print jobs can take multiple hours to complete, depending on their size, shape and complexity. The scheduling of print jobs will be set by library staff, based on the priority of the print job. Highest priority will be given to students and faculty working on class projects. The second level of priority will be given to any member of the campus community using the printer for academic purposes (not necessarily for a class project). The least priority will be given to those using it for non-academic purposes. For this last category of users, the library may schedule their print jobs for the very end of the day, so that they can print while the library is closed and be available the next day the library is open.

Operation and Oversight
Users may have varying levels of experience and familiarity with 3D printing. Even though some users may feel proficient or comfortable enough to operate the 3D printer on their own, this is a mediated service provided by the library. As a result, library staff will oversee all print jobs. If repeat users (faculty, for example) become familiar with operating the printer after multiple uses, those users may be given more freedom in handling the printer for their own print jobs at the library staff’s discretion.

The library will review submitted files for printing on the 3D printer or objects submitted for 3D scanning. The review is done to determine the size of the object, the estimated time to print the object, the nature of object, and any copyright implications. If the purpose of the print job is to complete an assignment for a course or is being conducted under the supervision of Stark faculty, the library may consult with those faculty members to make sure that the submitted print job meets expectations. After reviewing the submission (and potentially consulting faculty), the library will determine the scheduling priority of the print or scan job.

The library is under no obligation to print any and all submissions and reserves the right to deny access to the 3D printer for any reason. Objects that are deemed to be dangerous will not be printed. With regards to copyright, the submitter will need to describe how the file was obtained or created. If files or objects are determined to have potential intellectual property rights or copyright violations, their print jobs (or scans) will be denied. Appeals for denials of use of the 3D printer can be directed to the Stark Campus Dean’s Office for review.

Associated Fees and Design Quality
As long as the print job has an academic purpose or is associated with a campus-related event, there will be no charge for using the printer. If the printer is used for non-academic purposes, a fee of $1.00 per hour to the nearest hour (for the duration of the print job) will be assessed to the user. The fee will be estimated after project approval and delivery or creation (when the scanner is needed) of the file and collected when the object is fully printed and ready to be picked up by the user.

Since there are no associated costs with creating 3D files of objects scanned by the 3D digitizer, there are no fees for using it. Most scans take about 10 minutes and will be performed by library staff according to the same priorities listed for the 3D printer.

The library provides no guarantee as to the quality of any print job or digital 3D scan and it is imperative that users review their design before submitting a print job in order to identify and resolve any potential design flaws. Defective print jobs due to design error in the file will still be charged the standard fee. If a print job is defective due to printer malfunction, it may be reprinted at no extra cost to the user.

The library is offering the ability for users to create either 3D objects (using the Makerbot printer) or 3D files (using the 3D scanner/digitizer). The library does not offer the capability of creating 3D files from scratch (other than through the use of the scanner/digitizer) or editing 3D files. It is the user’s responsibility to provide an acceptable file for printing.

Acceptable File Formats
The Makerbot Replicator 3D printer software accepts some common file formats:

  • *.thing, a Makerbot proprietary format, used by the scanner (digitizer) and by many objects in the Thingiverse repository (https://www.thingiverse.com/).
  • *.OBJ, an open and universal format developed by Wavefront Technologies and used by other 3D application vendors.
  • *.STL, both binary and ASCII, created by 3D Systems but used widely for 3D printing.

Color
Unless the user can demonstrate the need to have an object printed in a specific color, the object will be printed using the filament loaded into the printer at the time of the print job.

Given that 3D printing is a new and still developing technology, the Stark Campus Library reserves the right to change these policies and procedures at any time.