IFSM 310 3D Printing Stage 1 Assignment

Before you begin this assignment, be sure you:

  • Have completed all previously assigned readings, particularly those assigned in Weeks 1 and 2 of the class.
  • Read the “3D Printing Case Study."

The Case Study presents Mark's 3D printing business and explains how he wants to expand his operation with more IT infrastructure and additional employees.  He has asked you to help him better understand what he currently has and what he will need to create the business he envisions.  You realize that although he already has several hardware and network components in use, he really does not have any idea how to expand into a larger operation.  You decide to begin with what he has, what his requirements are, and what components he will need to meet his requirements.


Using the Case Study and course materials, your task is to write a paper to Mark that includes the following:

  1. Background – briefly describe the business to be supported by the new infrastructure.
  2. Current IT infrastructure – List the hardware, software, and network components that Mark currently has in place (not what he wants to add with his "Expansion Plan").  Note that you may need to make some assumptions about the components based on what is provided in the Case Study.
  3. Requirements - List five requirements Mark has identified that the systems will have to perform or support as he expands his business.  These can be "business" needs or part of the 3D printing operation.
  4. How requirements will be met - Briefly explain to Mark what system components will be needed to meet each of the five requirements listed above.  These may be components he already has or new components to be added.
  5. Data representation and storage - Finally, Mark needs to store and use several types of data:  digital and numerical, audio, video and graphics data.  Explain to him how each of these types of data are represented in digital form, how they are stored, and on which device(s) (either in place or something he needs to add) each type of data will be stored.  Include each of the following:
    1. Digital and numerical data
    1. Audio data
    1. Video data
    1. Graphics data


Incorporate at least two resources correctly; one reference should be from the course materials and one reference should be external.  An external resource is a resource other than those provided in the class or textbook.  Incorporate properly formatted APA citations in the text of your document for each reference used.  Then, place an APA style reference page at the end of your document. 


For academic writing, the writer is expected to write in the third person. In third person, the writer avoids the pronouns I, we, my, and ours. The third person is used to make the writing more objective by taking the individual, the “self,” out of the writing. This method is very helpful for academic writing, a form in which facts, not opinion, drive the tone of the text. Writing in the third person allows the writer to come across as unbiased and thus more informed.

  • Write a short concise paper, 2-3 single spaced pages in length.
  • Use at least two resources with APA formatted citation and reference.  Use at least one external reference and one from the course content.
  • Compare your work to the Grading Rubric below to be sure you have met content and quality criteria. 
  • Submit your paper as a Microsoft Word document, or a document that can be read in Word. 
  • Your submission should include your last name first  in the filename:     Lastname_firstname_Stage_1


The "right" and "wrong" answers have to do with whether or not you correctly incorporated the course vocabulary and concepts from the textbook to support your choices and have addressed all parts of the assignment. 

3D Printing Case Study                                           

In late 2015, Mark Peterson acquired a 3D printer from Best Buy for $500.  As he began to play around with it, he discovered that he could use designs he downloaded from the Internet to create a wide variety of objects.  One day as he was exploring designs on the website MyMiniFactory.com  (https://www.myminifactory.com/), he came across a category of accessibility items.  He was very excited to discover such things as an umbrella holder for a wheelchair, because his brother Peter uses a wheelchair for mobility.  He downloaded the umbrella holder design and made one for Peter.  The first time Peter used the umbrella holder, several people came up and asked him where he had gotten it.  Of course, he was proud to say his brother had made it, but he had no idea how much it would cost for Mark to make one for a customer.  Peter took the names and phone numbers of two people he encountered and promised to get back to them.  When Peter approached Mark with the requests, Mark knew that he had found the start of something good.  He figured out what the time and material cost would be to make the holders, called the interested parties, and made his first two sales.

As he continued exploring, Mark ran across an article describing ten 3D printable assistive and accessibility devices (https://3dprint.com/126214/103dp-devices-for-the-disabled/).  After investing in a heavy duty 3D printer, Mark used his Facebook page to advertise his growing business in 3D printing assistive and accessibility devices.  He soon had many orders and his 3D printing hobby became his fulltime occupation. 

Mark rented space in an industrial park, bought two more wireless 3D printers, and hired two part-time assistants.  He brought his PC from home to control the 3D printers, and set up an Internet connection using Verizon FiOS.  His PC is connected to a FiOS modem which has a built-in wireless router.  Mark obtains his 3D printing designs from sources on the internet.   He uses Google email and keeps track of his orders on a spreadsheet on his PC.

Mark's Expansion Plan:  Now, just three months later, he is ready to add seven more 3D printers and a 3D scanner, and hire five fulltime employees.  Before he grows that much, he needs to set up his IT infrastructure to manage not only the additional 3D printers, but also to manage his business.  He wants to implement a small business enterprise resource management (ERP) information system in his facility to help him manage his business (customer orders, invoices, supply ordering, employees, etc.) more effectively.  He realizes he will also need a document printer to print invoices, etc.   In addition, he wants each of his employees to have mobile access to the ERP system and the 3D design files and printers from anywhere in the facility, and he wants as much flexibility in which computers control which 3D printers as possible.  He has a large collection of 3D print design files and has downloaded some training videos that he will use to train his new employees.  Mark has already decided that he wants to store all of his 3D production files and his business management information locally in his facility, and to use cloud storage for his backup files. 

Your assignment, which will be done in four stages, is to assist Mark in understanding what kind of infrastructure he needs; how it would be configured; how it will change when his business grows into a much larger, multi-location operation; and how the various devices communicate with each other.  Specific instructions for each of the four staged assignments may be found under the Assignments tab.