How to Successfully Oversee 3D Printing
at a Library

Learn how 3DPrinterOS is helping Central Piedmont Community College with their 3D printing education program and make 3D printing accessible to entry-level students.

How can you hit the ground running with a new educational 3D printing  program for students?

With the ribbon-cutting ceremony just barely in the rearview mirror, Martin House is delighted with the results thus far of the 3D printing program at The Parr Center, at Central Piedmont Community College. He is adamant that without 3DPrinterOS, they would not be enjoying their current success. Beginning on July 15th and followed by a well-attended open house at the end of August, their 3D printers have been running non-stop. He loves that 3DPrinterOS makes 3D printing accessible to entry-level students. Not only that, but the onboarding process is so easy that they are able to seamlessly scale the number of users far quicker than they anticipated.

Security is of vital importance : SD cards are not an option for educational 3D printing programs

Having dealt with a digital security breach in the recent past, Central Piedmont is understandably scrupulous when it comes to digital security. USB sticks or SD cards, so traditional for 3D printing and still used by so many schools, are not an option. Not only are they apt to get misplaced or damaged, but as Martin says, "Who knows where that USB has been plugged before you plug it into the 3D printer." And all of Central Piedmont's software now has to have a certificate of insurance.

SSO keeps it streamlined and secure

Students across Central Piedmont use SSO to access their 3DPrinterOS account. As well as being more secure, it is a very streamlined process. Admins can chat or email to message with details about their 3D print, as well as track filament usage and the hours printed.

Interview with Martin

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Martin House

Assistant Director for Public Services The Parr Center Central Piedmont Community College

As a librarian for 30 years and the go-to tech support for family and friends, Martin is used to making it easier for other people to do what they want to do. And as an avid 3D printing hobbyist, he is thoroughly enjoying enabling this popular technology for the students at Central Piedmont Community College.

By the Numbers

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3D Printers

6 Bosch Dremel 3D45

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Hours Printed

1,354 Hours Printed

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466 Prints

The epicenter of Central Piedmont Community College

The Parr Center is a state-of-the-art library, situated at the heart of the college. As Martin rightly describes, it is “literally the epicenter of the college”. Students love it, and come to study, work on group projects or explore the deep possibilities of the makerspace.

Open to everyone on campus it provides an excellent range of resources, including laser cutters, a podcasting studio, and 6 Dremel 3D printers. Staff is available Monday through Friday for help and advice. The 3D printers literally are running non-stop, unless a long print job finishes on Sunday, or when they change filament or level the 3D printers.

Forecast : More 3D Printers

Martin House gives a glimpse into the future as he discusses possible next stages. Because the whole program is still so brand new, everyone is set up for simple slicing.

However, in the future, they may assign permission levels or user groups that can make use of advanced features like toolpath manipulation. Students and staff from diverse programs and disciplines are already incorporating 3D printing into all aspects of their studies. The Health and Sciences Department recently 3D printed a model heart. The Interior Design Program uses it in designing furniture, and the Gaming and Simulation Department has been 3D printing figures to model real objects. And it is running smoothly and efficiently with 3DPrinterOS.

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