STF Spotlight: SLS 3D Printer
Florida State University’s Digital Fabrication Lab (Fablab) at the Innovation Hub has received an SLS 3D printer thanks to STF funds. The SLS 3D printer is a new printing technology that uses lasers to melt very small, powdered plastic together, allowing for easier, more refined printing. Any student, faculty or staff has access to this technology at the Fablab.
Eric Adams, Fablab manager, says that access to this printer benefits students by giving them the ability to produce higher-quality objects and prototypes for their research and entrepreneurial purposes. From the College of Medicine to the College of Business, the SLS 3D printer offers countless research opportunities across campus by being able to produce such high-quality objects.
“We're just really excited to have this technology on campus and have other options for students, faculty and staff to be able to produce whatever they can come up with, whatever kind of innovation they can create. Between all of the different software and resources we have here, this is just another step in being able to provide cutting edge education and services to our community.”
Kenneth Zhou, a student and Fablab staff, says he sees SLS 3D printing bringing opportunities to students, especially mechanical engineering students like himself, for design projects that may not be feasible with other types of printing. Fablab staff member Mason Gibson also says that the SLS 3D printer has enhanced his learning by showing him a “whole new avenue of 3D printing” with the SLS printing allowing for more free printing with fewer limitations. He goes on to say how he enjoys the freedom from gravity that SLS printing provides as it is able to self-support.
Many institutions still have limited access to SLS 3D printers. Due to its inaccessibility, students who have experience working with this piece of technology get a foot in the door with various employers within the engineering industry. The SLS 3D printer will allow students to develop their design and technical skills and provide them with an experience they can take into their future careers.
To learn more about the SLS 3D printer and see some of the work FSU students have created, visit the ITS YouTube channel.