Advanced Multi-Material 3D Printer

Project Title: Advanced Multi-Material 3D Printer

Project Lead’s Name: John Williams


Phone: (513) 529-7202

Please Choose the Primary Affiliation: LIB

Are There Other Project Team Members?: Yes

Other Project Team Member: Thomas Tully

Other Team Member Email Address:

Other Project Team Member: Kevin Messner

Other Team Member Email Address:

Brief description of project: Upgrade Libraries 3D printers in response to technical innovations, increased print resolution, efficiency, accuracy, and speed.

Does this project focus on graduate student education or graduate student life?: No

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem.: University Libraries have been providing 3D printing services to the student body since June of 2012. We have strived to upgrade our 3D printers as technical innovations increase print resolution, efficiency, accuracy, and speed. We have identified a growing need among students for 3D prints that are of a higher print precision, and composed of more specialized materials. We have identified a printing platform that allows for printing in a variety of resin mediums which both solves these current needs and allows for graceful expansion of our services as the needs of students become more sophisticated.

The criteria state that technology fee projects should benefit students in innovative and/or significant ways. How would you describe the innovation and/or significance of your project?: Since January 2015 the Miami University Libraries have printed 561 individual 3D projects for students and faculty in various departments including Architecture, Geography, Geology, Archeology, Art, Biology, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and Interactive Media Studies. These prints have been both for individual projects and class-based assignments. 3D printing is a rapidly evolving technology, in order to continue to provide high quality service it is necessary to upgrade current machines to higher resolution print capabilities and expand print medium to other materials. Currently, Formlabs ( offers flexible, castable, ceramic, dental, durable, and clear resin cartridges for their printer with additional types under development. Their printer, the Form 2, uses stereolithography (SLA) to form prints using tuned UV light to photopolymerize each layer as it is pulled from the resin tank. This process allows for layer heights as low as 25 microns, four times finer than our best plastic printers can currently provide.

How will you assess the project?: The Libraries keep a detailed record of all 3D print jobs that are requested and printed. Personal interaction with students will also help in the assessment process.

Have you applied for and/or received Tech Fee awards in past years?: Yes

If funded, what results did you achieve?: In 2013 a proposal for rugged digital cameras to be used by library patrons conducting field research was funded. They were widely circulated.

Did you submit a final report?: Yes

What happens to the project in year two and beyond? Will there be any ongoing costs such as software or hardware maintenance, supplies, staffing, etc.? How will these be funded?: Staffing for the machines will be provided by B.E.S.T. Library staff and student workers. There is currently an established workflow for 3D printing. Full-time staff assess submitted projects, respond with estimated costs and/or suggested modifications, and then drop the submitted project into the appropriate 3D printer's queue. The libraries operate all of their 3D printing services on a cost-recovery model for expendable materials. This allows normally high-cost 3D printing services to be accessible to the average student as the Libraries recover machine costs and provide staff time as part of our service model. An inclusive service plan is included in the proposal; any additional maintenance outside of the warranty period will be covered by the University Libraries on an as-needed basis.

Budget: Hardware

Hardware Title(s) & Vendor(s): (vendor - formlabs) Form 2 SLA 3D Printer along with supplies and service plan, details listed on budget proposal; (vendor - Dell) - computer wit monitor

Hardware Costs: $7,914.00

What is the total budget amount requested?: $7,914.00

Comments: For a quick introduction to SLA printing, this video shows the Form 1 printer being used: