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Digital Scholarship Innovation Studio

DSI Sign in the window
Three 3D printers in the DSI studio space
3D Printed Landscape
3D printed Slugs

What you can do in the DSI:

The DSI has two types of 3D printers available for use.  We provide filament for students to use at no cost for both types of printers.

We have 4 Ultimaker 3 printers available.  These printers can print up to 2 materials at a time.  These machines are the first 3D printers you'll get access to with our training, and they have the ability to print up to 2 materials.  The second nozzle can be used to add a second color or use a separate material as a support material.  We have both water soluble filament and breakaway filament available for students to use.

The DSI also has 2 Mini Prusa printers with a Mosaic Palette accessory.  These machines are not yet available for public use.  We expect to make these available by Winter Quarter 2023.  The addition of the Palette accessory allows for printing up to 8 colors at once.

Not sure what to print?  3D models can be found in many places online for printing.  We recommend finding models in places that are intended for 3D printing, as those will be designed so that they are printable.  Some recommendations to find existing 3D models are: Thingiverse, Cults 3D, Pinshape, My Mini Factory, and SketchFab.  When using a 3D model for printing, it is important to review the copyright information that comes along with the model.  If you can't find what you're looking for there, you can also design your own models.


Holography is the process of creating imagery from reconstructed light. While we are far from the physically present holograms of science fiction, technology now allows us to view this reconstructed light in a 3D space. The DSI supports holographic visualizations on our Realfiction Dreamoc Diamond display.  With four sides of viability, 4k resolution, interactivity options, and directional sound capabilities the Dreamoc Diamond offers a dramatic mixed reality experience.

Currently, we are able to host 3D models that have been exported to a turntable movie format.  If you have a model that you'd like to load into the Dreammoc Diamond, email us at for more information.

dreamoc diamond

Display measurements: W2360x H1710 x D2360 mm
Resolution: 2160:1920 (960x960 pixels per side)
Resolution 4K upgrade: 4320 x 3840 (1920x1920 pixels pr side)
Input: content plays from an SD-card.
HDMI input for real-time interactivity.

The DSI has 4 Glowforge lasercutters available for student use.  We provide 5 sheets of 12x20 sheets of birch wood for students to use free of charge.  This easy and powerful CNC laser cutter allows you to precisely cut, score, and engrave materials  Currently in our space, we support wood cuts and provide wood for students to use.  The Glowforge uses subtractive manufacturing, a process of carving or cutting your idea utilizing a Laser Light. 

The Glowforge works by moving the laser along a vector path.  The recommended file format to design for the Glowforge is an SVG file.  Both the DSC in McHenry and the DSI have Illustrator installed to aid in your design process.  The Glowforge can also engrave images that are JPG or TIFF formats, but it cannot create cut lines from these types of images.

The Cricut Makers is a smart precision cutting machine able to cut a wide variety of materials including paper, vinyl, thin cardboard, and fabric.   It is compatible with 13 different tools for cutting, writing, scoring, foiling and embellishing, many of which we have available for use in the DSI free of charge.  Also available for use is a Cricut Auto-Press, which can be used to adhere heat transfer vinyl to fabric materials (we do not provide fabric).

The Cricut Maker works by moving the tool (blade, pen, scoring tool, etc.) along a vector path.  The recommended file format to design for the Cricut is an SVG file.  Both the DSC in McHenry and the DSI have Illustrator installed to aid in your design process.  The DSI also has Silhouette Design installed, a design program specifically intended for creating designs for cutting machines.  

While there are many 3D models available online for free or purchase, often you may find that you want to create your own model.  We recommend TinkerCad for beginner 3D modelers.  The program is a free online tool hosted by AutoDesk.  They also have a series of learning tutorials that bring you from the basics of 3D modeling into specific projects.  All of our DSI Student Assistants have some training on TinkerCad.


For more robust 3D modeling programs, we have the following 3D programs installed in the both Digital Scholarship Commons lab on the ground floor of McHenry Library and in the Digital Scholarship Innovation Studio:  Maya, AutoCAD, MudboxSketchUp Pro, and Blender.


When modeling for 3D printing, the following design considerations should be followed:

  • The model must be watertight and should not have any holes.
  • All surfaces on the model should be pointing towards the outside of the object and connected (no non-manifold surfaces)
  • A larger base will create a stronger print
  • Parts of the model that are smaller than .1mm are unlikely to print cleanly


If you want to check your model for possible print errors and correct those errors, we recommend MeshMixer.  The DSI uses CURA to slice for 3D printing on our Ultimaker 3 machines.