The New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) have repeatedly identified 3D printing as an important development in educational technology, most recently forecasting a mere two to three years before widespread adoption. What will that mean for higher education and society? How will such services impact practices of higher education and potentially learning itself? What can those tasked with provisioning such services expect and plan for?
In early 2012, the DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), became one of the first academic libraries in the United States to provide 3D printing and scanning support as a library service explicitly available to all UNR students, faculty, and staff, as well as the public. Following a successful launch, the services were quickly adopted as a key component of the library's support of UNR's learning, teaching, and research missions.