By Chelsea C. Brennan
Salisbury University opened the Maker Lab in the new Guerrieri Academic Commons Building this fall.
The Maker Lab offers free 3-D printing for the entire Salisbury Community during the academic school year. The Maker Lab’s hours of operation are from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Maker Lab is closed on Sundays.
Printers are available on a first-come, first-served basis and the lab’s availability status is accessible through the website.
Technology Librarian Chris Woodall explained that the 3-D prints, in addition to failed print jobs, are free of charge. The staff has chosen to not gauge the usage and cost for the lab’s operation this semester.
In the future, the cost of 3-D printing is predicted to be relatively inexpensive.
“We aren’t planning on gauging people. We aren’t making any money off of it,” Woodall said. “It’s just to give us enough funds so we can replace the filament and stuff like that.”
SU senior and computer science major Brian Johnson has begun printing his second 3-D project in the Maker Lab. Johnson is currently working on a project that includes building a one-foot-tall dragon piece by piece.
Each piece is estimated to take as long as 20 hours to complete the print. The 3-D printers continue to complete the printing process overnight.
“No one needs prior experience for 3-D printing,” Johnson said. “Google 3-D printing models, download the file to a thumb drive and just bring it in.”
SU senior and computer science major William Tippet is an employee working in the Maker Lab and has become familiar with the new printing technology over the past four years. He remains hopeful that the SU computer science department will offer a class to develop software for 3-D printing in the near future.
Tippet encourages the community to start a 3-D printing project of their own at the Maker Lab.
“I can walk you through how to use Tinkercad, an open-source software online,” Tippet said. “I can then walk you through building and setting up the printers. Then I will call when it’s done.”
The Maker Lab is for anyone with an idea and its simple use allows for endless possibilities to become a reality.