Monthly Archives: August 2013

DLC Labs – 3D printing

3D prototyping

The DLC Lab has three Dimension 3D prototyping machines.

  • Dimension 1200ES
  • Dimension Elite
  • Dimension uPrint

These machines are available for student and faculty use when pursuing educational or research goals. We do like to ask questions from time to time about the purpose of the prototype. This allows for more efficient use of materials and time on the machines. Talk to the Operations Engineer if you have questions.

There are a few guidelines we would like to pass along.

  • Files sent to the DLC should be an exported .stl from any CAD package that you like.
  • The work order should state the physical size and volume of the object to be printed. This can be calculated by the CAD software. We use this information to select the machine which will fit your model. This is not required, only helpful…
  • Plan on a 2-4 workday turn around. Sometimes it is shorter, sometimes it is longer. It depends on the complexity of the model, the amount of material and the number of current print jobs. We move them through as quickly as we can.
  • The plastic material is Stratasys® ABS-M30. This link on MATWEB should help.
  • Current reported tolerances of the printed model are 0 to +0.010 inch. This usually means the an ID hole can be up to 0.020inches undersized.
  • Small parts can sometimes be a problem. Something smaller than thumbnail size is not usually successful. We might be able to find a way though.

We have many different ways of prototyping an object. Talk to us. We can help.


DLC Labs – Training and Learning how

Everyday we get students in the shop asking to be trained on just one machine or one technique…

“That’s all I need to get this project done… Can you show me how to do just this one thing?”

This is somewhat like learning how to drive a car. Remember the heart pounding excitement of getting behind the wheel for the first time? The anxious focus on detail as you adjusted each mirror, seat belt, and seat to the most perfect position. Then you realized…

This car has a stick shift.

Uh. How come there are three pedals on the floor instead of the usual two? Your stomach plummets through the floor. The sweat starts to bead on your forehead. You turn to your dad/mom/instructor and ask, ” How do I make the car go?” They blanch and turn pale realizing that they are in a car with someone who has not studied and that their life will be in your hands… Destiny awaits.

Learning how to run a machine tool is exactly like learning to drive a car. The shop machinist/instructor experiences terror each training session. Your training is fairly simple if you are prepared. If you are not ready, your risk increases exponentially.

Shop staff know from experience that most projects rarely require only one machine or one technique. Additionally, the amount of practice required to become competent requires time that many students would rather use somewhere else.

Machinists spend a lifetime learning “tricks of the trade.” Many of these nuggets of knowledge are available on the web and many more are written down in books. The conundrum is which ones to study and use. There are so many.

Below are a few that we have found to be useful. Watch them. They are worth the time.

Training Videos from MIT

1 – Basic 1       Duration 40:32  Layout Techniques, Basic Tools: Drill Press, Band Saw, Belt Sander & Grinder, Locating and Drilling Holes Tapping Holes

2- Basic 2        Duration 57:33 Drilling Holes
Special Drills for Plastics and Hard or Abrasive Materials Drill Press Limitations
Band saw Suitable Speeds, Feeds and Materials, Band saw Setup, Using the Drill Press Vise

3- Basic 3        Duration 30:02

Good Practice – Clean Up, Small Belt Sander Configurations, Grinder Operations and Materials, Deburring and Buffing, Finishing Techniques

4 – Milling Machine 1            Duration 50:33

5 – Milling Machine 2            Duration 1:03:33

6- Milling Machine 3              Duration 46:33

7 – Milling Machine 4             Duration 45:33

8 – Lathe 1                  Duration 45:02           

9 – Lathe 2                  Duration 47:33            

10 – Lathe 3              Duration 34:32            

Virtual Machine Shop

If you have any questions after watching, comment or drop and e-mail to

If you run across any other useful training links that you think would help, send em.