Engineering Halloween

Happy Spooky Season! The weather is changing here on campus and it’s almost time for Halloween. You may wonder why the Engineering Library would care about a holiday that we celebrate by dressing up and eating candy. Remember – engineering is the science of applied EVERYTHING and that includes Halloween! Come on in and check out our exhibit: Engineering Halloween. It will be up through the end of the month.


Witches around a bubbling cauldron may seem far from scientific, but humans have long relied on home remedies to handle most illnesses, the making of some may resemble brewing a potion. You won’t find any eye of newt or blood of a dragon in modern pharmaceuticalsToday’s cauldron, the glass beaker, must be able to stand high heatThe ASTM creates standards for lab equipment to help ensure that chemists won’t end up with their potion on the bench. For more information on standards and their importance in engineering, visit our standards guide! 

Ghost Hunting

Some people believe that on Halloween the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is pulled aside, which makes it the perfect time to go hunting for ghosts! If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show you might have seen ghost hunters use specialized tools like a spirit box or an EMF reader. Other tools are more commonplace. For example, some ghost hunters use thermal cameras and infrared thermometers, like the ones in our Tool Library, to capture cold spots – a supposed paranormal phenomenon. Sometimes ghosts can get more physical – like pushing and hitting people. Sometimes those sensations have a more earthly explanation that can be easily fixed. If people feel like they’re getting pushed down your stairs, check out a level to make sure those stairs are as flat and safe as they should be before you go calling the Ghostbusters. 


Want to take first place at this year’s costume contest? Consider integrating some wearable technology into your look. Use CAD and a 3D printer to create your whole costume, or just a piece or two and you’ll have a costume no one else does. You can also make sure you’re seen by adding LED’s! Check out this LilyPad Constellation Project to see the system in action. With a little knowledge of sewing and circuits, you can outshine the competition. With careful engineering and planning, you can also add elements like moving wings. It may be a little late to make glowing articulated wings like this project, but it’s not too early to plan for next year! 


Stop in and see our exhibit “Engineering Halloween” which will be up for the rest of the month. 

3D Printing at the Engineering Library

3D printing has gained popularity in the past decade, with printers becoming cheaper and more accessible to the consumer market. It has allowed users to take manufacturing into their own hands with several advantages over traditional manufacturing. Read all the way to the end to find out how you can learn the ins and outs of printing through the Engineering Library.


The Basics

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing. As the name would suggest, this means that items are created by building up material. The computer programs involved take the digital model the user has created and “slice” it into horizontal pieces. The printer then takes these slices and prints them one on top of the other, building the item. 

Consumer-grade printers usually print using thermoplastic graded according to the machine being used. The filament (1) is heated in the machine (2) and fed out through the nozzle (3) to build layers on the print (4) which starts on the build plate (5). Plastic is the most common, but some printers can use glass, ceramic, chocolate, and even biological tissue! 

A diagram of 3D printing



Advanced training in CAD software is no longer necessary to create your own 3D prints. Software like TinkerCAD and 123D Creature are specifically developed for ease of use. Not interested in making your own? You can download print files from a variety of websites, such  as Thingiverse. The maker of your 3D printer may also have their own online repository, so be sure to check the major brand websites.

Tinkercad is available on your computer or tablet


Consumer-Level 3D printers come in many different forms, and choosing the right one for you depends on what you are planning to print. For most home printing, a standard cartesian printer will work just fine. However, there are other options. Delta-style printers have small footprints, so they take up less space, but are also limited in their print capacity. If you wanted to go really overboard, you could look into a new innovation, a printer with a conveyor belt in place of the printing plate. This innovation allows for “infinite” printing. This means you could leave your printer to complete a multi-part print and not have to return and reset it as each piece finishes, or you could more easily print very long items, like swords or staffs. Of course, there is no need to buy a printer at all. Many public libraries now have 3D printers that can be used, or you can submit your files to be created by the printers at the Engineering Electronics Shop.

A conveyor belt printer completing multiple prints at a time

Learn & Create Workshops

Learn about 3D printing from the experts with our Learn & Create 3D Printing Workshop Series. Taught by Andrew Delgado from the 3D Print Club, the first class will cover the use of design software, and the second will focus on running the printers. More information is below. Visit our website to save your spot today!

October 6, 1:30 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC) – 3D Printing Designing

  • Want to learn how to use a 3D printer, but not sure how to get started?  Learn the basics of 3D Design and Modeling in this step-by-step workshop.  

October 13, 1:30 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC) – 3D Printing Operating the Printer

  • Have you ever wondered how 3D printers work? Join us and learn how to use slicing applications and the basics of operating a 3D printer.

August 24 is National Waffle Day!

Happy National Waffle Day! Make sure to celebrate by enjoying a waffle or two. Waffles may seem like they are not connected in any way to engineering, but engineering is the science of applied anything. 

We celebrate on August 24th because it was on this day in 1869 that Cornelius Swarthout received the first U.S. patent for a waffle iron. Swarthout however did not invent the waffle – waffles had been a staple of European cuisine since the 14th century, with the first known recipe being recorded in Le Ménagier de Paris by an anonymous author. 

If all of this has made you hungry, don’t despair. Come on in and check out Cooking for Geeks: real science, great hacks, and good food by Jeff Potter and try out a recipe for yeast waffles. As with all baking, making waffles includes chemistry, so just call your kitchen a lab. Real applicable experience! If a Belgian waffle is not your style or you don’t have a waffle iron on hand, you can enjoy some other kinds of waffles – maybe a waffle cone, or even waffle fries (you don’t need a waffle iron for those). 


If you want to get a little more structural, that’s an option too. Modern waffle iron inventors have improved the design since Swarthout’s day, and now your sweet squares can come in just about any shape. You can make a waffle that is definitely not a moon, or build your own waffle tower made of waffle bricks.

Have you celebrated Waffle Day before? What are your favorite toppings? Let us know below!



Newell, T. (2016, March 25). 12 Waffle Facts You’d Be Hard-Pressed To Find Anywhere Else. FoodBeast.

Seidman, R. (2010, August 24). Waffle Iron Patented – Smithsonian Libraries / Unbound. Smithsonian Libraries.

Swarthout, C. (1869). Waffle Iron (94043). U.S. Patent Office.

SciFinder is being upgraded to SciFinder-n

Welcome to the new generation of Scifinder: SciFindern!  

It is also written as SciFinder-n.  

Registration is required before the first use.  If you have already registered for SciFinder, your username and password will work for either one. Register for a SciFinder Account

Also, the registration for academic IDs remains the same and users should use the existing process through the Library.  The same ID and password work for both platforms so there is no additional registration for SciFinder-n. 

The links below work from anywhere, but you must use them to access either interface from off-campus.  ​

Both interfaces search the same information but are quite different.   

  • SciFinder   This classic version has been available since 2008 and has an older architecture.  It has system limits so you have to be more precise in searching.  
  • SciFinder-n   This interface has just become available.  It has a more modern architecture so it allows more flexible searching, has relevancy ranking,  and better functionality via mobile devices.  It also has no system limits, renders structures in standard conventions and allows you to combine reference and structure searches.  It includes these new tools: PatentPak, MethodsNow and Retrosynthesis Plan.   


New Tools: 


Need Help? 

  • On-Campus Training
    • An trainer from CAS will be here on Feb 10th and 11th to provide demonstrations on the new features. 
    • Monday, Feb 10
      • 1:30-2:30pm (snacks available): E215 Chemistry Building
    • Tuesday, Feb 11
      • 9:30 – 10:30 am (snacks available): E215 Chemistry Building
      • 12-1pm (pizza available): 2001 Seamans Center
  • SciFinder-n Help
  • SciFinder-n online training