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 December 4, 2020

Advanced 3D printer purchased for Rettner Hall

New 3D printer
This new Stratasys F270 3D printing system in Rettner Hall will help students and faculty explore the capabilities – and limitations – of an emerging technology that is “so much a part of today’s society,” says Jim Zavislan, associate professor of optics and director of senior design projects at The Institute of Optics.

An advanced 3D printing system has been purchased for the fabrication studio at the University of Rochester media arts and innovation center in Rettner Hall. It will enable students and faculty to keep pace with a rapidly evolving technology that is now finding industrial applications.

“3D printing is so much a part of today’s society,” says Jim Zavislan, associate professor of optics and director of senior design projects at The Institute of Optics. “Our students are going to be working in industries that may be using this technology. They need to be aware of its capabilities, and its limits.”

“This is a really exciting add for the students,” says Chris Muir, professor of mechanical engineering who directs senior design projects in that department.

James Alkins, senior laboratory engineer, says the recently purchased Stratasys F270 3D printing system will provide these additional capabilities to complement two other 3D printers the studio will continue to use:

  • Printing with up to four different materials. This will allow creating prototypes with movable parts.
  • Increased prototype size—12 by 10 by 12 inches, compared to 8 by 8 by 6 inches with the other two printers.
  • The ability to use multiple colors within a print.
  • Built in camera to monitor progress of jobs remotely.
  • Cloud-based software to ease scheduling and uploading of designs created by students using CAD design software.

The additional 3D printing capacity will make it easier to accommodate students working remotely because of COVID-19. “They can design the part, email it to us, and we can print it and ship it back to them,” Zavislan says. “It levels the playing fields between those students who are remote, and those who are coming to campus.”

Alkins estimates the studio’s 3D printers accumulate about 3,000 hours of printing time each academic year.

The F270 was purchased through Allegheny Educational Systems, which offers discounts to educational institutions. Stratasys offered additional discounts. The Institute of Optics, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are sharing the cost.

Users are already lining up.

Each fall, students in Muir’s Mechanical Design course design a part for printing in 3D. “We are going to take the opportunity of the break to use the print center to print their parts in high quality,” Muir says, “while doing training for staff and TAs (teaching assistants) so that we are ready for the spring.”

Below: A model of Rocky and two University of Rochester emblems created by the late Jim Barbaro, printed with the new printer.

Rocky in 3d printer