Coffee and Donuts with the Research Community

Thursday, November 5th, the Boise State research community is invited for coffee and donuts in the Library’s Makerlab. Sponsored by the Office of Information Technology (OIT), researchers wanting to talk about their research activities, grant proposals, data management needs, or how they can use OIT's research computing services can find help. In addition to the open forum, Will Hughes will provide a presentation on VIP (Vertically Integrated Projects) program and how it can benefit researchers.

To learn more, please visit: http://wiki.boisestate.edu/coffee-and-donuts-with-the-research-community-agenda/

Michelle Armstrong,
Scholarly Communications and Data Management Librarian


Honoring Our Veterans in November

"Vietnam War Memorial" by Donald Morrison is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Albertsons Library invites the community to view two special displays and a lecture to be held in honor of Veterans Day. Starting November 2nd, a display of Vietnam War artifacts from the collection of Dr. David Walker, professor in the Department of History, will be available in the library lobby. From November 5th, the library will also display a collection of resources related to veterans, including some items from a collection donated by Vietnam War veteran Jim Barker.

On Veterans Day, November 11th, Dr. Walker will speak about The Battle of Ia Drang, the U.S. Army's first battle with the North Vietnamese Army. The lecture is free and will take place in the Frank Church Room of Special Collections and Archives, 2nd floor of the library.

Elizabeth Ramsey,
Assistant professor/Librarian


Boise State Catalog Changes

After a summer of construction, the library is going through another (not so big) change. In the next few weeks, the library will be switching to a new interface to the Boise State only catalog. The new interface will have better interoperability with WorldCat Local, the search box on the library’s homepage. In addition, the interface is designed to incorporate design elements that make it more accessible, as outlined in the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.

One thing that comes with this switch is that the option to search will look different! The interface and layout won't resemble the current Boise State only catalog interface. But don’t fear, you will still be able to search through WorldCat per usual and it will be just as easy to find what you need. The library is currently testing the new interface to ensure functionality. Stay tuned for a roll out date!

The Boise State only catalog is the system that processes all the “Hold/Request” functions. For example, if you want a book in the library but somebody has it checked out you might use the request option to be first in line for that book when it’s returned, or if you only have five minutes to stop by the library you can place an on-shelf hold to have your books waiting for you at the circulation desk. Now that we’re moving to the new interface, this function is going to look a little different. The hope is that it will be a little bit easier to use and understand.


Happy Open Access Week!

Today kicks off a weeklong event in honor of Open Access! Open Access is “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment” (SPARC). One of our favorite resources for explaining Open Access is this short video:

October 19th – October 25th you can join students, faculty, researchers, and citizens from around the world to learn about the benefits of Open Access. Open Access has made some headlines this year. Maybe you heard about publishing giant Elsevier’s new policy which creates barriers to open sharing of scholarly work? Or FASTR – new legislation for Fair Access to Science and Technology Research, or the new Open Library of Humanities.

To us, every week is Open Access week! Albertsons Library supports Open Access by working to make Boise State publications freely available to anyone in the world. Visit scholarworks.boisestate.edu to read over 5,000 faculty publications, 900 thesis and dissertations, and many other types of scholarly work. Watch our readership map to see these documents being downloaded all over the world. With almost 1.5 million downloads, we know people are finding and reading Boise State scholarship! http://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/readership_map.html#content

Follow the conversation at #oaweek and #openaccess on Twitter and check out http://www.openaccessweek.org/. You can also follow and tweet @OpenBoiseState to tell us what you would like to know about Open Access at Boise State.

Amber Sherman,
ScholarWorks Librarian


Available for Checkout: Accessibility Devices

We are very excited to roll out a new line of accessibility devices today! We have an ergonomic keyboard, a high contrast keyboard, and a trackball mouse now available at the circulation desk. They will check out until 11:30 PM, for daily, in-library use.

Michael Mitchell,
Access Services


Interlocking Parts & Tolerances in 3D Printing

Here at the Makerlab we get lots of requests to print objects that have interlocking parts. Some examples of these type of objects are meshed gears, built in axles or hinged boxes. These objects are really neat examples of what 3D printing is capable of, but there are many considerations to be made when designing and printing such parts. Here are some tips for designing objects that are meant to fit inside another piece or are themselves a number of interlocking pieces.

1. When In doubt, give as much room as possible.

When a machine such as a 3D printer is building an object, there are always going to be variations in what the design specifies, and what is actually printed, this is called the tolerance. Tolerance means the machines ability to get as close as possible to the designs specifications. Here is an example where a cube has been designed to be nested inside another cube.


The cubes on the left have a difference of .5 mm between the outer wall of the small cube and the inner wall of the cube it is nested in. As you can probably tell, these cubes are fused together. The cube on the right has a gap of 1 mm and the cubes are not at all fused together.

We have found that a 1 mm gap has been a safe number when building these sorts of objects, but it is not always easy to ensure this throughout the entire part. When you are making your first print of an object with these sort of interlocking parts, it’s always best to give it as much room as possible while still keeping the design function.

2. Give special consideration for holes in round fitted parts.

STL files, the type of file that any 3D printer uses to build objects, consist entirely of triangles that make up the geometry of your object. When design software is trying make a circle, in our case the kind that would be in a round fitted part, then it has to do so with triangles. As you can imagine, it has to make some compromises. When the design software makes these compromises, especially in the case of round holes, it will always choose the circle to be smaller rather than larger, as holes are easier to drill out, rather than made smaller.

Here is an example of a hole that has been designed without this factor in mind. The smaller hole has been designed for a 3/16 inch dowel to be inserted. As you might guess, the hole that has been printed is much too small for this to happen.


The hole on the left is scaled by a factor of 1.2 and fits the dowel perfectly. Unfortunately this number can’t be used as a rule of thumb for any hole, or even any printer from that matter. To make a long story short, between printer software, printer calibrations, and the various tools that are involved, your best bet is to make a few test prints that have the fitting that you want to make, and adjust your design as you find necessary.

3. Reduce Flow rate to improve spacing between parts.

In general, the software that will run your print has a good idea of how much plastic needs to be extruded from its nozzle to produce an object close to your specifications. As shown in the previous tips, this amount may be more than your design had specified, making the fitted pieces in your objects fuze together or not fit at all. In addition to the methods above, you can change the flow of plastic for the entirety of the print. In many cases this fixes some or all of the problems detailed above, without having to change your design. This is especially useful when you have downloaded a design that someone else has made and you are not familiar with design software.

This method of course has its limitations. Often, although the interlocking parts of your object now fit together, other parts of your object now no longer have the right amount of plastic fill. This can appear as features being under-defined, or top layers  showing holes.

by Corbett Larsen, Student Assistant for the Web and Emerging Technologies Unit at Albertsons Library