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3D Printing



Searches for books, ebooks, journals, e-journals, newspaper articles, images, videos, databases etc in Engineering Subject Areas only

Subject Liaison Librarian

The library liaison for Engineering is Gillian Kerins

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Subject Support Liaison Librarians for 3D Printing

Contact details

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  • The library liaison for Engineering is
    Gillian Kerins
  • E-mail
  • Tel: 00 353 (0)1 4042201
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What is 3D Printing

3D printing also know as additive manufacturing or rapid proto-typing, allows users to create from a digital file a physical three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape.
The printing process uses successive thin layers of material which could be plastic, rubber or metal. A virtual design is made in a CAD file using a 3D modeling program or using a 3D scanner. The scanner makes a 3D digital copy of an object and puts it into a 3D modeling program. Then a 3D printer is used to create the 3D object.
For example, a lightweight plastic filament is fed through the nozzle of the printer, is heated up to its melting point and then extruded onto a build plate surface, hardening upon impact. The process continues, depositing the melted filament layer by layer until a 3-dimensional object is formed.
SLS (selective laser sintering), FDM (fused deposition modeling) & SLA (stereolithograhpy) are the most widely used technologies for 3D printing. Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) use melting or softening material to produce the layers.
3D printing is useful to anyone who requires low-volume custom prototypes. For example, making models for class projects, testing design ideas, creating visual aids, and creating components to incorporate into larger-scale models. The possibilities are endless, limited only to the size of the printer and your imagination.

  • Engineering - creating 3D prototypes of designs in order to fully understand their engineering design principles and to experience the challenges that are encountered along the way
  • 3D animation - creating 3D printed objects from their designs
  • Visual communication design - creating prototypes of product designs and packaging
  • Advertising / marketing / business / entrepreneurs - having a 3D prototype of the item that they are selling, to show their clients
  • Medicine - creating 3D replicas of anatomy
  • Forensics - incorporating 3D printing into crime scene investigation (ex. creating 3D replicas of evidence, such as footprints, or skeletal remains and facial reconstruction)
  • Chemistry / physics / biology - creating accurate 3D visual aids such as DNA or chemical reactions

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