3D printing is revolutionizing biomedical research by enabling scientists to engage in creative problem solving, build customized solutions, and develop faster prototypes of their ideads. The NIH Library's 3D Printing Service offers free 3D printing to NIH staff who are creating work- or research-related projects. This is a self-service model in which customers submit their print jobs to the online queue using the CatalystEX sofware, which is available on all the NIH Computers.
The Library's uPrint 3D printer is an entry-level professional version, capable of precise printing using ABS (acroylonitrile butadiene styrene). THe uPrint features the ability to print intricate and suspended patterns using dissolvable supports that are melted away after printing. The printer also has a heated printing chamber that reduces cracking and curling, which can sometimes be a problem when printing with ABS.,
What We Do
To support the 3D Printing Service, the Library provides 3D printing orientations and classes, and 3D modeling software. NIH LIbrary staff are availble to assist with troubleshooting 3D models before and during printing. They can also provide referrals to other 3D printer resources on campus, including the NIH 3D Print Exchange, which provides free digital models of biomedical and bimolecular structures that are readily compatible with a 3D printer.
To help you get started, the NIH Library licenses several modeling programs that can be used to created 3D printable models. The following software is available in the NIH Library's Technology Hub collaboration pods, which can be reserved online.
- Maya: a 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software that is used for animation, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation
- Solidworks: a modeling tool that can be used to design and create 3D parts and assemblies
- Z-Brush: a digital sculpting and painting program
Making Health: Inspiring Innovative Solutions for Research and Clinical CareHere's the video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/BWdT0qrcMjw
What is 3D Printing
3D printing is taking a 3D digital image and printing it as an actual object.
3D images can be designed using 3D editing software, downloaded from websites, scanned from physical models, or created by merging photos in some software packages. There is a wide range of software available for modeling with varying learning curves and prices. Please see Modeling Software for more information about what is available.
The printing, also known as additive manufacturing, involves building the object with small successive layers of material, i.e. PLA (polylactic acid), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), titanium, plaster, etc. There are printers available for every budget and need. Consider reviewing this comparison chart of 3D printers.
3D printing has a range of applications, especially in bioengineering. Examples of what has been printed include ears, tracheas, and tissue scaffolding. Read additional information on 3D printing in research articles funded by NIH via a search strategy in PubMed.
It has been used in manufacturing and rapid prototype development for a while. Recent changes in size and price have made 3D printing more accessible to the general public. There are now lots of online communities and businesses to support new developers.
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