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Student Tech Services (STS): 3D Printing at WashU

Zach O’Connor, a former Student Tech Services (STS) student employee who studied Biomechanical Engineering at both Elon and WashU, is one of the newest hires for Student Technology Services and Tech Den. As the full time 3D Print Technical Specialist for the two service desks Zach is the de facto subject matter expert in all things related to 3D printing.

STS 3D Print Tech Zach O’Connor helping a student review his 3D model

What is your plan for 3D printing at WashU?

“I want to provide students with the expertise and knowledge to support their prototyping capabilities connecting on-campus 3D print resources to bring their ideas to life. Although not widely known, there are several 3D printing spaces on both the Danforth and the Medical Campus, and I’ve been collaborating with various stakeholders to bring more awareness and access to this technology.

Also, I have connected with the Spartan Makerspace, and we are now more efficiently recycling filament left over from things like support structures using their designated recycling collection units. ”

What do you consider to be your tech strengths when it comes to 3D printing?

“…Knowing when to use the correct technology for the job at hand. For example, if someone needs a quick prototype they should use PLA filament on a material extrusion printer, whereas if the print is a final prototype, they should use an industry-grade material on a more advanced 3D printer for durability and a better-quality end product.”

What are some interesting 3D prints you facilitated?

“Recently I have been helping several students scan and print 3D models of themselves. We utilized the Eniscan H 3D scanner to capture a digital model of their physical likeness and then printed 3inch mode.”