Three-dimensional, or 3D, printing is no longer something of the future. OCCC students have had access to two 3D printers since earlier this year, said Gary Dominguez, Student Computer Center Supervisor.
Dominguez said the printers, located in the Student Computer Center, create 3D models using plastic that is fed into the printer where it melts.
The 3D object is built layer by layer. He said a 1-inch tall object can take up to one hour to complete.
“A software called Thingiverse allows students to download different things — such as phone cases — and then print them into 3D models.”
Dominguez said since OCCC acquired the printers in late February, hundreds of objects have been printed by students and faculty.
“When we first got [them], we printed out a little elephant in every color so that students can see what their models would look like in each color.”
Dominguez said 3D printers can be used to solve problems.
“A student took half of a pump, scanned it into the computer and recreated the other half, and then printed the full pump,” he said. “It can literally fix broken things in this way.”
OCCC’s design classes also have started using the printer so students can see their designs come to life.
An online search shows the many ways in which 3D printers are used all over the world. That includes creating limbs for amputees, 3D homes, crime scene recreations and more.
Dominguez said students wanting to see a 3D printer in action should visit the center located on the third floor of the library in Room 322.