3D Printing in Space

The 3D printing services at the RSL are out of this world and I’m not just saying that! Recently objects that we printed went up to the international space station. Let’s tell you how it happened.

Gif of an object wrapped in gold foil in a clear plastic bag  floating in the air. A hand reaches out and touches it and starts it spinning.

The 3D printing covers the ferrofluid experiemnt. It is wrapped in foil and plastic for protection.

The Project

The NG-18 robotic resupply spacecraft launched 7 November 2022, amongst its supplies it brought several experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) including an experiment investigating ferrofluids in microgravity. Ferrofluids are attracted to the poles of a magnet and the experiment’s aim was to investigate how the ferrofluids would act in in negligible gravity. This experiment was assisted by the ISSET-Oxford payload development team, who designed the structure for the experiment, the truss assembly, and the outer cover. This team specialises in developing high school student-proposed research projects for launch to the ISS. The experiment contained a series of electromagnets, which were used to manipulate a ferrofluid sample through a sensing coil.

The truss, electromagnet coil holders and outer casing were printed by the 3D printing facilities in the RSL. Our New and Emerging Technologies Officer, Richard Smith, discussed the designs with the ISSET-Oxford payload development team and arranged for them to be printed. The structures were printed using Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) which is NASA safety compliant.

They were then shipped to NASA Wallops Flight Facility for assembly and launch in November 2022. The assembly was designed in Solidworks and Onshape design software by Dr Daniel Cervenkov, Jack Enright and Dr Mike Foale.

On the ISS, the experiment ran successfully within the 3D printed structure and the results were saved to an SD card. That card returned to Earth on 11 January 2023 as part of the SpaceX CRS-26 Commercial Resupply Service mission along with the results of other experiments.

Find out more about 3D Printing on our guide or by emailing rsl3dprinting@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

RSL in the VHL – Term Time Opening Hours

Well term has started and so that means we are back to our term time schedule. The Radcliffe Science Library at the Vere Harmsworth Library will be open until 10pm today and every weekday of hilary term! Even more time to study in our individual desks, take breaks in our comfy break room (with vending machine) and access our huge collection of ejournals and databases via the free Wi-Fi.

We’re now open :

  • Monday-Friday: 9am-10pm
  • Saturday: 10am-4pm
  • Sunday: 11am-5pm

So the library is available whenever you want to study, whether you are a nightowl and earlybird.

Statue of an owl with headphones using a laptop.

3D printing and VR services

3D printing and scanning services

We would like to remind all our readers that the Radcliffe Science Library has a low-cost 3D printing service which is available to all members of the University. We also have 3D scanning equipment for the creation of virtual 3D objects.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss using the service, please contact rsl3dprinting@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Further information, including how to submit an order, can be found on the online guide: https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/3dprintingscanning

VR equipment lending service

The RSL has VR headsets and a 360° camera which are available for loan. Please contact newtech.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk with any queries about this service.

Further information can be found at https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/vr.

Welcome to all new and returning students in Michaelmas 2021

A warm welcome from the Radcliffe Science Library to all new and returning students! We look forward to seeing you soon.

The RSL is one of the Bodleian Libraries and is Oxford’s main library for science subjects and pre-clinical medicine.

The RSL’s usual home is currently closed for refurbishment until 2023. The RSL’s library services are currently operating from a temporary base in the Vere Harmsworth Library in the Rothermere American Institute.

Please see the Bodleian Libraries website for information on service updates and staying safe in the libraries.

Please don’t hesitate to ask library staff for help. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • e-Reference services:  Our Live Chat service is available via the SOLO home page and the Bodleian Libraries website seven days a week, (9am–7pm on weekdays and 10am–4pm on weekends) and our central email enquiry service is reader.services@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

3D printing service relaunched

The Radcliffe Science Library’s 3D printing service has resumed.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss using the service, feel free to contact Richard Smith at rsl3dprinting@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Further information, including how to submit an order, can be found on the online guide:  https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/3dprintingscanning

Update on library services at the RSL and VHL for Trinity term 2021

Opening hours

Easter vacation (from Tuesday 6 April to Friday 23 April):

  • Monday-Friday: 9.30am – 7pm
  • Saturday: 10am – 2pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Trinity term (from Saturday 24 April):

  • Monday-Friday: 9.30am – 9pm
  • Saturday: 10am – 4pm
  • Sunday: 11am – 5pm

Booking is still required until further notice – please see www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/libraries/book-a-library-time-slot for more information.

The loan return period has been extended until 29 April 2021 and fines are suspended. Information on returning books can be found at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/services/borrow/return-loans.

Scans of RSL and VHL items are available to via the Scan and Deliver service, and the Click and Collect service is available for loanable items. Both services are available via SOLO.

For up-to-date information on services from the Bodleian Libraries, please see www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/service-updates.


From Monday 12 April, Browse and Borrow sessions are available again at the VHL. The timings of these sessions are:


  • Mornings: 10am-12.00noon
  • Afternoons: 1.30-3.30pm
  • Evenings: 5-6.30pm

Saturday: 10.30am-1.30pm

Update on library services from the Radcliffe Science Library and the Vere Harmsworth Library – Hilary term 2021

From Saturday 16 January, the Radcliffe Science Library and Vere Harmsworth Libraries will be CLOSED to readers apart from those using the Click and Collect service (available Monday to Friday, 12-4pm by advance booking only). This will apply until further notice.

Readers using the Click and Collect service will be able to return books as well.

Scans of RSL and VHL open shelf items will still be available to University members via the Scan and Deliver service.

It is not possible to order items to the VHL from offsite storage, but scans of articles and chapters are available through the Scan and Deliver Offsite Scan service. This is available to all Bodleian Libraries readers.

Emergency online access to many of our holdings via HathiTrust has been reinstated on SOLO.

Updated on changes to Bodleian Libraries services will be posted at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/finding-resources/library-updates.

New services – Browse and Borrow + Spacefinder

Browse and Borrow

From Tuesday 27 October 2020, the Browse and Borrow (B&B) service is available at the Vere Harmsworth Library. Browse and Borrow allows readers to book a slot to browse the open shelves and borrow material for consultation outside the library.

Browse and Borrow sessions are available as follows in term-time:
Monday to Friday:

  • Mornings: 10.00am-12.30pm
  • Afternoons: 2.00pm-4.30pm
  • Evenings: 6.00pm-8.30pm


  • 10.30am-12.00pm
  • 1.30pm-3.30pm


  • 11.30am-1.00pm
  • 2.30pm-4.30pm

Browse and Borrow bookings at the VHL are limited to 15 readers per session.

If you need to consult material in depth in the library, please book a desk or PC instead.


Demand for spaces in libraries is very high and slots become fully booked very quickly.

To assist readers in finding and booking available spaces, a new Spacefinder tool has been launched.

New slots are released 7 days in advance between 7:30-9:30 each morning, and additional slots are released each day due to cancellations and same day booking can be made before 8am.

How to contact us for help

Radcliffe Science Library staff can be contacted any time for help using library services:

+44 1865 272800 enquiries.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

You can also contact your Subject Librarian directly.

For help with SOLO, you can use the Live Chat service from the SOLO home screen. Live Chat is staffed by library staff from across the Bodleian Libraries, and is available 9am-7pm Monday to Friday and 10am-7pm at weekends.

Socially-distanced library services in Michaelmas term 2020

Using library spaces

At the moment, you will need to book a space in advance to visit one of the Bodleian Libraries – see www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/reading-rooms for details.

Bookings can be made up to a week in advance and will close at 8am the day of your chosen time slot.

Check library opening times before booking – www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/opening-hours.


Usual borrowing procedures are suspended across the Bodleian Libraries due to restrictions on access to library sites. Borrowing is possible via the Click and Collect service – see www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/clickandcollect for details. Borrowers are able to place requests on SOLO for loanable items, which are then fetched by staff and can be collected in a pre-arranged time slot.

Getting scans of chapters and articles

Readers can request scans of journal articles and book chapters on SOLO via Scan and Deliver – details are at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/scan-and-deliver. There are two services on offer:

  • OffsiteScan from items in off-site storage is available to all Bodleian Libraries readers
  • LibraryScan from items in reading rooms is available to current members of the University with a SSO (there is a limit of one request per reader per day)

These services are free of charge.