3D printing services will help students and staff with personal and academic needs

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Anything one can think of, there is a 3D print file for it.

By Andrea Herrera


The office of technology services will be offering a new learning opportunity for faculty, staff and students.

3D printing services will be available to all, starting Oct. 30.

Biology freshman Shelby Gentry logs into the Mega Lab Feb. 1 on the fifth floor of Moody. The lab offers an open access computer lab and color printing. Service hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. File

“We wanted to have something where any student, any staff, any employee can walk in and say, I want to print something on a 3D printer,” said Usha Venkat, director of information technology.

3D printers are not new to San Antonio College.

The mortuary science and creative multimedia have their own printers but are not open to the rest of the college.

With this idea in mind, Yvonne Galindo, instructional technology supervisor, IT leader and project director, started doing research to see what other institutions offered the open lab concept they had in mind.

She visited open labs at sister college Palo Alto, Trinity University and Texas State University.

“This was very encouraging once we found all these different schools doing it, so we felt we were definitely meeting a need for the students here and for the faculty and staff also,” Galindo said.

Two of the main factors for 3D printing are cost and time.

To receive this information students will have to go to the MegaLab with a file ready to print, and staff will figure a cost based on the weight of the item.

Students will pay through Alamo Marketplace pay system.

Once the print is finished, students will be called to pick it up.

Some prints might take as little as 30 minutes to a full day depending on the item.

The material used to print is called PLA plastic.


“It is very green, very much biodegradable and ecofriendly,” Galindo said.

With this technology different departments are able to print needed models, such as bones, bolts, special screws and even a full architectural model.

“3D printing is really utilized more for academic nowadays,” Venkat said.

Education sophomore Zuleima Landaverde is an aspiring kindergarten teacher. She was very excited when she found out about the new access to 3D printing at the MegaLab.

For her, this is very helpful as it makes it easier to show her students shapes and how they are made.

“To have it in their hands within an hour, to know this is a triangle,” she said.

“3D printing is a visual for kids who are visual learners, so this is a perfect way to get any student to see it firsthand. If you can see it, you can print it,” Landaverde said.

For more information, email sac-3dprint@alamo.edu or visit the Student MegaLab in Room 502 of Moody Learning Center.


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