Installed in 2014.
The BIF has a 3D printer available for public use. The 5th Generation MakerBot Replicator uses poly lactic acid (PLA) to create 3D objects. The MakerBot is ideal for the creation of custom materials, parts, and models.
There are several options for those interested in creating a custom material. Prior to design, it might be useful to browse Thingverse, a repository of 3D designed models. Users might find the object they want has already been designed and is present in Thingverse. Please note that designed objects in Thingverse may not have ever been printed. Users that wish to design their own objects to print will first need to design their custom object in a 3D design program (see below for a few recommended programs). Following design, the 3-D file will need to be exported to .STL format which can then be read by MakerBot Desktop software and printed on the Replicator. Another use of the printer is to print biomolecules from 3D coordinate files to visualize in real space, see the following link for advice on preparation of a pdb file to be exported to .STL.
Suggested (free) software for creation of 3D files:
Google Sketchup (Users will need to download an extension to properly export their files to .STL file types.)