By Joey Mazzaferro
The Infinity Fab Lab, a collaboration between the College of Design, Construction and Planning and the College of the Arts, recently became the first place in the state of Florida with a metal 3D printer after the addition of the Markforged Metal X printer. The Fab Lab has one of only about 100 of these printers installed throughout the U.S. The machine arrived in December and became available to students and others to use at the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester.
According to Fab Lab Director Juan Griego, the printer first produces an object 25 percent larger than the original model. The object is then placed into a washing station, which removes any impurities and binding agents from the print.
“It then goes into a sintering oven, which will fire the part for up to a day,” Griego said. “Once cooled, your part comes out of the sintering oven as a ready to use medical-grade, stainless steel object.”
While University of Florida students, faculty and staff do get first priority, the Infinity Fab Lab is open to everyone. “We wish to partner even more with the Gainesville community,” Griego stated.
Knowing how to use a metal 3D printer is not a requirement to get projects made at the Fab Lab. Just bring in a .STL file and the staff will handle the printing process. The Fab Lab staff is always available to help with anything.
“Anyone wishing to experiment with the many technologies we provide can always come in and talk to us,” Griego explained.
He is very excited about the potential the Markforged Metal X printer has to help people currently in the Gainesville community in addition to those that may come here in the future.
“This equipment will attract even more scholars to UF because they can have their work made quickly and locally at the cheapest rates in the country,” Griego said. “The opportunity to create multiple iterations and rapid prototyping in metal is already here.”
The Infinity Fab Lab is located just off campus in Infinity Hall and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. To learn more about the Fab Lab, visit https://fablab.arts.ufl.edu/.