|Allied Nevada's Hycroft Gold Mine|
I first learned about the 3d printer a couple of weeks ago as part of a whimsical search to see if there were any publicly accessible 3d printers in my area. I was shocked to learn that UNR was the first public library to purchase a 3d printer for general use. How convenient that this should be right in my back yard.
I chose the final topo from the Hycroft mine as my first project because I already had a complete triangulation. I didn't want to spend a lot of time creating a project just to test the printing only to find out that I couldn't get it in the right format to print.
It took a while to figure out how to put this in the right format to print. The big problem was that the Maptek Vulcan software isn't capable of exporting to the stl file format. Eventually, I found a program that will convert from vrml format (a format that Vulcan will export to) to stl format.
Once I had done that, I realized that my shape was too big to print. I already knew that I had to fit my topo to the 8x8 inch pad but my initial design was almost 15 cubic inches in volume. At $7.50 per cubic inch this was going to cost me more than $100. This was not in my budget.
In order to minimize cost, I spent a lot of time creating walls and a base for the model. This reduced the total volume to a little less than 3 cubic inches and put the cost at a more manageable $20.
I'm so excited to see the finished product I can hardly wait. The only problem is, I delivered the project at noon on Friday. The project will take about 10 hours to print and the library closes at 5 pm. The library is closed over the weekend and I am going on vacation next week. I will have to wait a week and a half to see my finished work. How sad.