New Library Materials
Items added during: October 2015
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A Brief Look at 3D Printers
by Sheila Hatchell
During the Special Libraries Association Conference in June, I attended a presentation called "The Science of 3D Printing." 3D printing began in the 1980s, with color introduced in 2005. The extension for 3D printing files is .stl.
Older materials used in 3D printing include Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS – a product hotter than boiling water). Newer materials include nylon, wood, flexible PLA, photopolymer, and paper.
3D printers are becoming common in university libraries. A speaker from the University of Florida indicated that primary users are engineers, especially mechanical and aeronautical. At the University of Florida, the cost to use their 3D printer is $0.15/gram of material.
There are environmental concerns: the printers create ultrafine particles and need good ventilation for post-processing. Librarians reported that the 3D printers are messy, too.
A 3D printing store opened at the Mall of America in October. More information can be found at http://me3dstore.com/.
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