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An Academic Library's Role in Improving Accessibility to 3-D Printing

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

It’s All About the Students

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


Daniel P Zuberbier East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dan Zuberbier is the Education & Instructional Technology Librarian at East Carolina University (ECU). He planned for, launched, and currently manages the J.Y. Joyner Library 3D printing service which makes 3D printing accessible to all students, faculty and staff at ECU, and is currently developing a course on 3D printing for the North Carolina Summer Ventures in Math & Science Program. He previously worked as a high school Social Studies teacher in Arizona and Michigan, and holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His professional interests include teachers’ perceptions of school library programs and school librarians as a resource and assisting educators with integrating emerging technologies into the classroom.

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Ranjeet Agarwala East Carolina University

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Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Systems at East Carolina University. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the North Carolina State University. Since 2001 he has taught courses in Engineering Design, Digital Manufacturing, and 3D printing, GD&T, Electro-Mechanical Systems, Statics and Dynamics. His research interests are in the areas on Advance and Digital Manufacturing and its integration with the renewable energy sector.

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Mark McKinley Sanders East Carolina University

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Mark Sanders is the Assistant Director for Public Services at East Carolina University's (ECU) Joyner Library. Previously he worked as a Reference and Outreach Librarian at ECU and Louisiana State University. He holds an M.S. in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.A. in Spanish literature from Penn State University. His professional interests include student centered learning spaces, innovative services, and new technologies.

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Robert A. Chin East Carolina University

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Robert A. ”Bob” Chin is a full professor in the Department of Technology Systems, College of Engineering and Technology, East Carolina University, where he has taught since 1986. He is the past director of publications for the Engineering Design Graphics Division and the past editor for the Engineering Design Graphics Journal. Chin has also served as the Engineering Design Graphics Division’s annual and mid-year conference program chair, and he has served as a review board member for several journals including the EDGJ. He has been a program chair for the Southeastern Section and has served as the Engineering Design Graphics Division’s vice chair and chair and as the Instructional Unit’s secretary, vice chair, and chair. His ongoing involvement with ASEE focuses primarily on annual conference paper presentation themes associated with the Engineering Design Graphics, the Engineering Technology, and the New Engineering Educators Divisions and their education and instructional agendas.

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Academic libraries, frequently referred to as information or knowledge centers, are among the most accessible facilities on college and university campuses. Many are accessible close to if not 24 hours a day/5 days a week during the regular fall and spring semesters. Logic, as does practice, suggests that a campus library would be one of the better places to house equipment intended to improve accessibility to 3D printing and provide students with an informal workspace to extend their learning beyond their classrooms

In the fall of 2014, an industrial grade 3D printing system was deployed to an academic library where there was no capability. In addition personnel began to receive training on the system. Since then various initiatives have been undertaken to broaden the 3D printing technology knowledge and skill base among the campus communities and increase its accessibility. In addition to equipment being added to the stable, more personnel have been allocated and trained to facilitate this initiative. Web resources have been published for educating, training, and automating, and in general improving access to the 3D printing resources. 3D printing workshops have been offered to campus community members to improve their understanding of 3D printing technology. While the time devoted to training varies, all training is lab-based and hands-on. The workshop participants have come from disparate areas of the campus and from different disciplines including: natural sciences; health sciences; business; and social sciences. Faculty members from different colleges, departments, and disciplines have registered to bring their classes and students to explore 3D printing technology. In less than a year this initiative has grown and has become full-fledged campus wide endeavor with greater growth anticipated. To sustain this growth and to ensure its long term viability, grants and other funding opportunities are being sought. The endeavor’s next step is to begin fostering multidisciplinary research and other creative activities.

Zuberbier, D. P., & Agarwala, R., & Sanders, M. M., & Chin, R. A. (2016, June), An Academic Library's Role in Improving Accessibility to 3-D Printing Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26551

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