Fabrication Underground! – a photo tour of the DC’s new 3D printing and fabrication space

Image of the new BigRep Studio 3D printer installed in the DC's Fabrication Underground - capable of producing parts 1000 x 500 x 500 mm

Fabrication Underground is an all new space designed and constructed to provide the U-M community with access to the latest 3D printing technologies, software, and other fabrication resources to transform ideas into physical reality. In addition to several new, advanced 3D printers, 3D scanners, a 60 watt laser cutter, and CNC printed circuit board cutter, there are electronics workbenches, a collection of hand-tools, and several roomy worktables for layout and assembly. Check out our dedicated site for more information about equipment, how-to guides, and scheduling your next 3-D printing project.

Come visit us in the DC Lower Level, Room B430! Monday through Friday 9 a.m to 6 p.m.

A panoramic perspective showing the interior of the new Fabrication Underground facility with inset photo during its construction

The new facility started with a clean-slate design that provides plenty of additional space and electrical power for larger devices and to enable future growth, better lighting for fabrication, inspection and assembly, and a dedicated ventilation system to enable a wider range of equipment with greater thermal footprints.

New capabilities include a commercial-scale, large volume BigRep Studio 3D printer (above) capable of build volumes up to 500 x 500 x 1,000 mm (19.7 x 19.7 x 39.4 in.) for prototypes as well final parts using engineering-grade materials.

Image of a complete automotive engine manifold 3D-printed with a BigRep Studio printer

Acquisition of the BigRep printer was made possible through financial partnerships with:

  • The College of Engineering (COE) – Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • COE – Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
  • COE – Computer Aided Engineering Network (CAEN)
  • Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • The Digital Media Commons

Also new, an Asiga Max X 3D printer capable of printing at ultra-fine resolutions down to 27 microns – ideal for printing operable “lab-on-a-chip” microfluidic devices in a wide range of materials. The Asiga Max X is on extended loan to the Duderstadt Center’s Fabrication Underground facility in a unique partnership with Asiga USA (headquartered in Ann Arbor).

image: a miniature castle tower, complete with an interior staircase, less than 1" tall, printed in 3D on the Asiga Max X 3D printer (a U.S. Quarter coin shown for scale)

A demonstration of the Asiga Max X shows a miniature castle tower less than 20mm tall (US quarter for scale) 3D-printed complete with an interior spiral staircase!

Included in the Fabrication Underground lineup is the workhorse Stratysys Polyjet J750 high-resolution 3D printer (above) capable of processing both rigid acrylic and highly flexible materials in thousands of colors. The Polyjet J750 is available through a financial partnership with Professor Evgueni Filipov and the Deployable and Reconfigurable Lab of the COE’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The ability to print and blend thousands of colors enables the J750 to produce objects such as this lifelike prosthetic eye, printed in less than an hour – a fraction of the time traditionally required to create one by hand.

J750 part

Among the many other material options for use in the J750 are a family of highly flexible polymers which can also be printed in colors.

The 60 watt Epilog Laser Cutter can cut acrylic and laser-safe wood products up to 3/8 inches thick at user-selectable resolutions from 75 to 1200 dpi. The tooling platform can accommodate objects up to 610 x 457 x 216 mm (24 x 18 x 8.5 inches) in size.

Multiple work areas are available in the space including this convenient laptop friendly work area with adjustable lighting. The work surface is a salvaged bowling alley lane!

Exclusively for use by classes in which 3D-printing is a part of the course material, a battery of Ultimaker 3, 3D printers capable of printing in two colors, are available.

Two Electronics Workbenches are equipped with oscilloscopes, multimeters, variable power supplies, soldering and de-soldering equipment, fume extractors, hot air guns, and hand tools.

A Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine is available to cut traces on single-sided or double-sided copper-coated circuit boards up to 5.5 × 4.5 inches (140 × 114 mm) in size.

Rolling tool boards with a wide array of hand tools can be positioned conveniently by worktables to cut, hammer, file, glue, or wrench your next creation into working form!

Check out our dedicated site for more information about equipment, how-to guides, and scheduling your next 3-D printing project.