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From an irrigation pump prototype to a replica of human anatomy, 3-D printing options at the Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library are endless.

The method of 3-D printing creates physical three-dimensional objects through an additive process using computer-aided design software. As opposed to using a solid block of material and removing all the unnecessary material until the desired object is created, 3-D printing creates objects by bonding the print material one layer at a time.

A 3-D-printed jawbone
A 3-D-printed mandible

Pendergrass Library first received a consumer-grade 3-D printer in June 2013 to assess the technology and gauge interest. The newly renovated Pendergrass Library is offering use of the 3-D printer to all faculty, staff, and students.

“By providing this access, we are enabling the community to gain experience with this emerging technology and, on a more practical level, allowing them to produce innovative research outputs, invention prototypes, artistic projects, teaching aids, and more,” said Richard Sexton, an IT technologist at Pendergrass Library.

UT students and faculty have already created a variety of objects for lab experiments, research presentations, and personal projects.

3D iphonecases
3-D-printed iPhone cases

Graduate students in the Transmedia Design program, a combination of graphic design and 4-D (video, performance, sound, and film) graduate programs within the School of Art, used the 3-D printer to create their own original designs. A professor from the College of Veterinary Medicine printed laryngoscopes to use on rats. One student printed a replica of a jawbone as well as prototype components of an irrigation system.

Sexton says the innovative new technology is rapidly developing and 3-D printing applications are still being discovered.

“This will assist employees and ready students for using the tools they will encounter during their careers, supplying real-world experience that they can point to when seeking employment,” said Sexton.

Pendergrass staff members operate the machine, but patrons are welcome to be present for any part of the process they wish to see. The cost of printing projects depends on the amount of material used. For reference, creating a simple phone case costs about $7.50.

Read more about Pendergrass Agricultural and Veterinary Medicine Library and 3-D printing online or contact Richard Sexton at jsexton3@utk.edu.


Richard Sexton (865-974-9731, jsexton3@utk.edu)