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3-D Printing Available To All

Students inspect a model produced by a 3-D printer with the help of Dominique Pierce, systems specialist at the GW Libraries.Students inspect a model produced by a 3-D printer with the help of Dominique Pierce, systems specialist at the GW Libraries.

Imagine printing a rare fossil to use in a class presentation, a prototype for a new product idea, or your latest artistic creation. All these things are possible at Gelman Library with 3-D printing available to all GW students, faculty, and staff.

“University libraries locally and across the country are using technology like this to engage students,” said Matt Mihalik, GW Libraries director of information technology. “It’s quickly becoming a common tool of modern libraries.”

This process, also called additive manufacturing, creates three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file by laying down successive layers of material until the item is complete. The resulting object is a lightweight 3-D replica of the original piece or digital design.

The GW Libraries host workshops throughout the academic year on how to create 3-D models from scratch and alter existing models using free software. Staff members consult with users to walk them through locating and working with 3-D files, making this sophisticated technology accessible to anyone curious enough to try it.


Check out a time-lapse video of the library's Makerbot Replicator 2x 3-D printer as it builds a miniature bust of university namesake George Washington:

 

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