Life in 3D at the DME.

This is a PrintrBot. It’s the secret to make sure everything you ever wanted, is yours... well, sort of. A PrintrBot is a 3D Printer that promotes at-home 3D printing at low costs and relatively quick speed. This makes it possible for average Joe’s like you and I, that can learn just the basics about 3D printing, to print out cool objects out of the comfort of our own homes.

The Ryerson University Digital Media Lab (DME) is an on-campus resource for students looking to explore innovative technologies such as 3D Printers. Located on the third floor of the Student Learning Centre, the DME is home to many types of digital media and technologies such as 3D printing and augmented reality.

3D Printing is an increasingly popular technology that can be used in many different fields of study, including medicine, automotives, toys, aerospace, education, home economics, and many more. With medicine, scientists are exploring the printing of cartilage and organs in order to combat the issue of the lack of organ donors and donor matches. This field has already seen exceptional success with 3D printed ears and organs being transplanted in animal test subjects. The automotives industry has also explored 3D printing, which would facilitate the production of car parts and overcome manufacturing challenges like cost. Printers such as the PrintrBot make it possible for consumers to solve day-to-day problems on their own, by designing a product that suits their needs perfectly.

I booked a session to explore 3D printing at the DME and got the opportunity to design an .stl file and print a small model of my name. To keep things simple, I’ll break down the process below:

  1. Make a 3D CAD model of the object you wish to print using 123D Design software (Free to download).
  2. Export your CAD model as an .stl file and save to a USB.

STL (STereoLithography) is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems.

3. Open the .stl file on the Cura software at the DME.

4. Adjust printer settings based on the desired dimensions of your object.

This is where you adjust the temperature of the printer, which allows the filament to melt and drop out of the hot end in order to create the object layer by layer.

5. Begin printing. This usually takes 30–45 minutes, depending on the size of your object.

Et voila! Here’s a video of the PrintrBot in action.

And, this is the final product.

This 10mm model of my name (five letters and a base) took about 6 minutes to print.