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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Employees use 3-D printer in house, leads to big savings


November 21, 2016

Saving nearly $1,500 for Michigan State University, Scott Friend, Planning, Design and Construction CAD/BIM manager /GIS coordinator, worked with GIS student employee William Johnston to successfully 3-D print a crucial window part that was no longer being produced.

When the part of a window that prevents the windows from opening too far began to deteriorate from years of use, Building Services reached out to the original manufacturers. Unfortunately, the part was no longer being produced and would cost around $1,500 to remake.

The Building Services team had the idea to 3-D print the part and enlisted Friend to help them with the project.

“I knew we’d be able to do it in-house for cheaper and just as well,” Friend said.

Friend knew that Johnston had 3-D printing experience from being a part of a robotics team in high school so he used his knowledge to design the part.

“IPF is extremely broad in our knowledge and capabilities,” Friend said. “We were able to take a problem and use different things within the university to solve it.”

Johnston was able to replicate the part in about one hour and used MSU’s main library to 3-D print the part at a total cost of $30.

“We were able to find a solution to a problem that we were having in an unordinary way,” Johnston said. “We were able to make use of new technology and work together to solve a complex problem.”

Typically, Friend manages 3-D modeling of buildings and 2-D floor plans, but tackling this 3-D printing project was not a foreign concept to him. In fact, Friend attended Eastern Michigan University with plans of pursuing 3-D part modeling.

Friend hopes IPF can continue to solve complex issues in-house by using diverse skillsets of its employees.