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Development of a 3-D Printer Selection Engine

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Engineering Technology Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


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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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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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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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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3D printing is an integral part of the visualization, design, and prototyping process. As it becomes more accessible, to even the layperson, it has spawned new industries and small businesses. And as it becomes more accessible aided by copious 3D printers being introduced the market every year, hobbyists, K12 schools, libraries, professionals and other end-users around the globe are facing increasing difficulties making educated decisions when selecting a 3D printer.

Previous research has limited 3D printer selection systems to professional users or restricted it to printer parameters and part accuracies. Much of the research findings are also archaic as it has been difficult to keep up with the rapidly growing 3D printer market. Also, many of the more popular, larger, or well-known 3D printer manufacturers provide their printer specifications in disparate formats making an “apples to apples” comparisons difficult.

An endeavor is underway that focuses on the design of a tool that will enable any category of end user to match their needs and product specifications to 3D printers by means of a webpage. Envisioned is the capability of any users connected to a network to enter the CAD geometry and product specifications into a web based form to empower users to select the most appropriate 3D printer. The parameters that drive the selection of 3D printers have been inspired by more popular, larger, or well-known 3D printer manufacturers. The purpose of the selection system is to display printer specification in a common format so users are able to make “apples to apples” comparisons. Initially the system, along with the website interface will be hosted by a library. The online resource and the database will be continuously expand, improved upon, and updated to ensure the 3D printing pairing engine is current.

The technology, techniques and methods of designing and hosting a3D printer selection engine and the user’s experiences as they interact with this system is reported.

Agarwala, R., & Chin, R. A., & Zuberbier, D. P., & Sanders, M. M. (2016, June), Development of a 3-D Printer Selection Engine Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26790

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