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MSU Libraries offers 3D printing

The Mississippi State University Libraries is going 3D! At least where printing is concerned.

The University Libraries' Instructional Media Center is now offering 3D printing to all MSU faculty, staff and students. Community members may also take advantage of the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. Pattye Archer, Coordinator of the IMC, said the 3d printer is the result of a partnership with the Interior Design Program in the College of Architecture, Art, and Design.

"We are excited to be working with the faculty in Interior Design to provide 3D printing to a larger MSU audience," Archer said.

Until this summer, the MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer was housed with the Interior Design department and used primarily by the department's faculty and staff. In an effort to make the printer available to more students, as well as faculty and staff who might have an interest in 3D printing, William Riehm, assistant professor in Interior Design, suggested moving the printer to the Library, which is open more than 100 hours each week and easily accessible to anyone on campus.

"The Library and IMC are always excited to work with departments and organizations on campus to help provide more and better services to our patrons," Archer said. "This is another example of those kinds of partnerships we believe benefit Mississippi State University as a whole."

Putting the 3D printer in the Instructional Media Center was an easy decision, according to Stephen Cunetto, Administrator of Systems for the MSU Libraries. Since the IMC already houses two large printers that print up to 13x19, a wide format printer that prints up to 44 inches wide and as long as needed, and computers with all the latest software, it was an easy fit.

"The IMC is the go-to place in the Library, and on campus, for technology," Cunetto said. "Our goal is to provide a place where patrons can not only come and work on class projects, but can also take advantage of our resources to learn new things. The 3D printer is another one of those exciting resources."

With the addition of the 3D printer, the IMC will become a partner with The Factory, a makerspace initiative that links various production spaces and labs in an interdisciplinary effort to support students, faculty, and staff. Archer said being a member of The Factory again enhances the IMC's and Libraries' desire to partner with other departments.

Currently The Factory includes a main makerspace in Patterson Hall that features such equipment as mill, miter and circular saws, a soldering station, various hand tools and a brand new X-Carve CNC Mill; a Rapid Prototyping Lab that also offers 3D printing; a clothing lab where patrons can engage in different methods of apparel construction, fitting, and visual analysis; and a wood shop that provides patrons with the training and tools they need to work with wood.

"We are excited to be a part of The Factory and look forward to working with more patrons as we expand our services and work toward providing our students with new ways to learn and create."

For more information on the Instructional Media Center including information on the 3D printing services visit http://library.msstate.edu/imc. For more information on The Factory visit http://ecenter.msstate.edu/maker/index.php/The_Factory.