In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Imaging Centers are continuing to provide status updates, and have implemented mandatory cleaning and safety protocols for all users using UIC resources. Please visit our sunrise safety protocols page to learn more 

3D Printing

UIC 3D Printing Sunrise Information

The University Imaging Centers remain committed to supporting research during the ERO and now the sunrise period in compliance with University policy. This means that only approved essential and sunrise personnel related to formally approved research efforts can utilize the UIC at this time. We do have new policies in place as part of our approved Sunrise plan that will need to be adhered to by all users.

3D Printing Service Updates

  • Projects can still be requested by filling out the submission form below.
  • All communication and exchange of drawings and information will be digital through Zoom, Google Drive, Email, etc.
  • Printing is limited to our Markforged FDM and Formlabs SLA 3D print systems.
  • Printing will be completed and shipped via FedEx to the address provided. Please keep in mind additional lead times when considering project timelines.

University Imaging Centers: 3D Printing

The University Imaging Centers 3D printing service is available to all University of Minnesota students and staff as well as external clients.

Our 3D printers are located in Room 1-220 of the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building on the Minneapolis East Bank campus, and Room 23 Snyder Hall on the St. Paul campus.

Services & Printers:
  • Markforged Onyx One
  • Formlabs Form 2 SLA
  • MakerBot 5th Gen
  • Design & Consultation

Printers

Markforged Onyx One

The Onyx One prints stiff and dimensionally stable engineering grade parts with twice the strength of other 3D printed plastics. Onyx parts have an excellent surface finish and are suitable for industrial applications.
 
Onyx One Printer Specs:
  • Build Volume - 320 x 154 x 132 (mm)
  • Media - Onyx (70% Nylon, 30% Chopped Carbon Fiber Blend)
  • Highest Layer Resolution - .1mm
  • Mechanical Accuracy +/- 125µm
  • Minimum Unsupported Wall Thickness - 1.6mm
  • Minimum Embossed Feature - 0.8mm
  • Print Line Width from Nozzle - .4mm

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Formlabs Form 2

Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing uses a laser to cure solid isotropic parts from a liquid photopolymer resin delivering high-resolution parts.

Stereolithography is a form of 3D printing technology used for creating models layer by layer using photopolymerization, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers. Those polymers then make up the body of a three-dimensional solid.

Form 2 Specs:
  • Build Volume - 145 x 145 x 175 (mm)
  • Media - 16 available resin types.
  • Highest Layer Resolution - 25 - 100 microns
  • Laser Spot Size - 140 microns
  • Diode: Violet (405nm)
  • Max Output: 250 mW
Resins for a wide range of applications

Prior to printing we will discuss the application of your design and help to find the ideal resin for your project.

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MakerBot

Capable of producing both functional parts for everyday application and presentational pieces for talks and educational demonstrations, the MakerBot continues to be a popular choice.

MakerBot Fifth Generation Replicator Printer Specs:
  • Build Volume - 240 x 189 x 143 (mm)
  • Media - PLA
  • Highest Layer Resolution - .1mm (PLA)
  • Temperature Thresholds:
    • Glass Point - 60-65C˚
    • Melting Temp: 150-160C˚
Printing with biodegradable plastics - PLA:

Our MakerBots print using biodegradable Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). PLA comes in a wide variety of colors as well as specialty blends such as glow-in-the-dark, semi-transparent, and flexible. If you have questions about a specific type of PLA please contact Alex Cramer.

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3D Printing Resources

If you're looking to create a model for your lab or project we suggest you start with one of these free software options.
  • Tinkercad- A free easy to use online app anyone can use to create and print 3D models. Fantastic for beginners and robust enough to handle moderately complex design.
  • Sketchup- A premier 3D design software that makes 3D modeling for everyone, with a simple to learn yet robust toolset.
  • Meshlab- An open source and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.
  • Meshmixer- A state-of-the-art software for working with triangle meshes.
  • FreeCAD- A parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. Parametric modeling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters. FreeCAD is open-source and highly customizable, scriptable and extensible. In addition to being multiplatform it also reads and writes many open formats such as STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, DAE and many others.
  • Blender- Blender is a free open source 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline - modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. In terms of 3D printing it offers a more advanced free platform for creating your designs. The learning curve on Blender is a little higher than Autodesk and Tinkercad but it's a solid option and widely used in the 3D printing community. If you got a handle on 3D modeling give this a whirl - if you're just beginning I suggest easing into it with Tinkercad.
  • Thingiverse- A vast library of community created objects available for printing. Always fun for a browse and useful to see if anyone has had similar ideas. You might be surprised by what you find.
  • ITK Snap- Software application used to segment structures in 3D medical images.
  • ilastik- A simple user-friendly tool for interactive image classification, segmentation, and analysis.
  • VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics)- A molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3D graphics and built-in scripting.
  • NIH (National Institute of Health) 3D Print Exchange- The NIH 3D Print Exchange was created in the spirit of open science and open data. Feel free to browse uploaded designs or submit your own.
  • Appromedia Open-source Lab
  • Open-source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment.
  • Open Labware: 3D-Printing Your Own Lab Equipment - Associated Project Webpage
  • A one-piece 3D printed microscope and flexure translation stage
  • OpenSCAD - The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeler
Additional UMN 3D Printing Resources:

UIC & UMII - Partnering Imaging and Informatics

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The University Imaging Centers also offers assistance in modeling your design. In partnership with the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII) we have the expertise to segment and reconstruct your data into 3D models from many forms of imaging data including MR, and CT.

3D printing provides an opportunity to explore custom solutions to unique problems in a fast and affordable way.

Whether your designing a presentation model, or custom experiment apparatus, 3D printing is a powerful tool for researchers looking to get the most out of their experiments.