Beth Filar Williams, interim head of the Digital Media Commons in the UNCG library system, was interviewed by the News & Record regarding the installation of a student-accessable 3-D printer.

The Digital Media Commons, or DMC, exists “to help students create,” said Filar Williams. She considers the 3-D printer just another part of that need for creation.

DMC used a grant from the library to buy a MakerBot Replicator 2X, a glass-sided cube roughly the size of a microwave oven. This printer melts thin strands of colored plastic at 2,3000 degrees Celsius and builds objects one layer at a time.

While a traditional computer printer puts ink on paper, a 3-D printer makes three-dimensional objects, such as coffee-cup sleeves and game pieces, as referenced by the article. While the 3-D printer needs as little as 20 minutes to make an object that’s about a cubic inch, it needs several hours to make something as big as a softball.

This 3-D printer is the second on UNCG’s campus. The Department of Interior Architecture has had a more sophisticated commercial grade model for the past five years. Student designers use that printer to make prototypes of housewares designs. The DMC printer has been open to all students since early February.

“It has been going almost nonstop since then,” Filer Williams said. “We’ve been having people bang down the doors to print.”