DePaul University Library > Technology > Fabrication & Prototyping

Fabrication & Prototyping

In 2017, there was an expansion of the Information Commons technology program found on the first floor of the John T. Richardson Library to the 2nd floor to provide new spaces and technologies in support of media content creation, digital scholarship and maker programs. In deepening and expanding interdisciplinary access to a wide variety of academic technology and support services, we hope to promote creativity, innovation, knowledge sharing, and experimentation among all campus community members.

Fabrication and prototyping tools aid in the production of physical objects. You can find the items below at the Maker Hub

Use Policies & Certifications

Drop into any open hours session at the Maker Hub. Upon your first visit, you'll get an introduction to some of the space's equipment. You will also sign an activity waiver prior to using the space. Learn more about the Maker Hub's equipment below.

 

3-D Printing

Photo of the Maker Hub in the John T. Richardson Library at Depaul University
Meet our fleet of 3D printers, located at the Maker Hub on the 2nd floor of the Library.

All software used to control printers is loaded on the Maker Hub's iMacs. To use the Ultimaker printers, you are welcome to bring your pre-loaded .gcode file on an SD card for printing. The Form 2 printer is not networked and must be used via USB. 

Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D Printer

What Is Stereolithography?: Stereolithography (SLA) is a form of 3-D printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerization, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers. Those polymers then make up the body of a three-dimensional solid. Stereolithography is used to create prototypes for products and in medical modeling, among other uses. 

Introductory Video: https://formlabs.com/3d-printers/form-2/

How to Use the Form 2:
  1. Setup: The Form 2 uses liquid resin as print material, storing it in a black tank that lives in the back of the machine, dispensing it into the tank below. Learn how to install and change resin cartridges here. It's likely there will already be a resin cartridge installed in the printer when you use it.
  2. Once you have selected and completed your 3D model, you will need to upload your print to the Form 2 via USB using Formlab's proprietary software, PreForm.
  3. 3. It is recommended that you let the PreForm software add structural supports to your object so it does not stick to the build platform. Learn how to do that.
  4. 4. The printer's touchscreen interface will direct you in the next steps. 

Ultimaker 2+ Filament 3D Printer

Ultimaker 3D printers use various high quality plastics like PLA, ABS, and CPE. The mixture of precision and speed makes the Ultimaker 3D printers the perfect machines for concept models, functional prototypes and also the production of small series. 

You can edit/slice existing 3D models in the proprietary Ultimaker software, Cura. Learn more about Cura here.

Calibrating the build plate might also be necessary, and probably a good idea to do so every once in a while to make sure the plate is level. Learn how to do that here.

How to Use the Ultimaker 2+:
  1. Setup: You will need to load the filament into the Ultimaker 2+. Learn how to do that here. There might already be filament loaded, but you might want a different type or color. Learn how to change filament here.
  2. You will load files onto the Ultimaker using an SD card. The Ultimaker will only accept .gcode files, not .obj or .stl. The application Cura can convert the files for you. This can be done on your own computer if you download the Cura software, or use the computers in the Maker Hub. You are welcome to bring your own SD card to load into the printers, assuming the risk of leaving it unattended.
  3. You will then insert the loaded SD card into the Ultimaker. Learn how to do that here.
  4. Use the menu on the printer to begin your print.

More about 3D Printing:

3D printing is a manufacturing process that involves a machine creating a three-dimensional object, controlled by a computer. Objects usually begin as some sort of 3D model, the most popular file formats being .OBJ and .STL. There are different kinds of 3D printers, the most common being fused filament fabrication (like the Ultimaker) and more "up and coming," stereolithography (like the Form 2.) 

.OBJ and .STL files can be created from scratch in 3D design programs like SketchUp, AutoCad, Blender, Meshmixer, TinkerCad, and so on. They can also be downloaded from open source repositories like Thingiverse, Pinshape, and GrabCAD.

The completed file is then sent to the printer. Print jobs can take anywhere from a few minutes to entire days, depending on the physical size of the object and the desired resolution, or detail. 

In the manufacturing process, 3D printers are used frequently in prototyping, in order to quickly create a test model to be replicated after research. 3D printers are also used in rapid manufacturing, jewelry design, fashion, medicine, and more.

Vinyl Cutting

​Coming soon.

Laser Cutting

​Coming soon.

Tools

Various general hardware tools are available, including hammers, wrenches, and a drill.