Imaging Center brings new, unique printing services to campus

 

 At the Imaging Center, printing isn’t limited to just paper and ink. 

Located in Yeager Hall, the newly opened Imaging Center is now offering services that weren’t offered on campus previously. Services like 3D printing, engraving, wood burning, laser cutting and printing on mediums such as fabric are now available to campus staff and students. Unlike ordering online, the Imaging Center offers no minimums to those who use the services. 

“The whole idea of the Imaging Center came up as the factor of design,” said Bob Carlson, the general manager at the Imaging Center. “[We] were looking for a way to make it easier to get their [students] homework done.” 

The process of planning and creating the Imaging Center began a year and a half ago. A list featuring new equipment was agreed upon and weekly meetings were held to ensure the needs of students were being met. 

“Our focus is students, and they’re always going to have the first crack at it,” Carlson said. 

Carlson said students can create different paper products that include copies, pamphlets, banners and stickers. Stickers can be large or small and can be cut around the perimeter of the design mechanically. Vinyl can also be cut to make signs and symbols. Vinyl letters cut by the Imaging Center staff are currently used on a number of parking signs on campus. 

 

 Fabric printing services are also offered on three different types of fabric. A design is uploaded onto the computer and is sent to the fabric printer. The fabric has a stiff back when sent through the printer, which is later peeled off. Most often, interior design students use the service for class projects. The Imaging Center currently has fabric printed curtains featured in the Dirty Lil display in The Union. 

3D printing is a new service that has been offered to campus. Figures up to 8 inches in height and width, and 6 pounds in weight can be replicated in 3D solid form. The plastic that is used for the printer is a renewable bioplastic. To make the figure, the object to be replicated is scanned, which can take up to 12 minutes. The scan then can be altered to make the 3D print larger or smaller. When printing, successive layers of the plastic are placed to form the 3D object. Building time of the objects is based upon the size and how complex the design is. Costs are calculated by the minute and hour if needed. On Mondays, staff and students can build one 3D object and build a second one for free.

Senior music education Joshua Tonkin has plans to build a functioning water bottle through the 3D printer.

“I designed a couple items on Google’s SketchUp … and went to the print lab yesterday [Monday] to get it printed … it turned out amazingly, so I began to get a little more creative,” Tonkin said. “… I am going to the print lab again soon to print a mini-version as a test, and if all goes well, I’m going to print a full-size model.”

Tonkin is looking to design an item that would help students learn music.

Laser engraving and wood burning can be treated to several products as well. Laser engraving can be done on objects such as mugs, pens, and objects made of glass and plastic. Staff is currently working on a catalog of products that can be engraved to show customers what is offered.

The Imaging Center is working on being accessible 24 hours a day for student printing. 

“We’re having one little … hiccup we’re trying to work with software that runs printers and hobo cards,” Carlson said. “We’re trying to work through that.” 

The current hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with student copiers running until 10 p.m. Hours on Sundays are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.