3D Printer Resources

The Library believes in integrating new technologies into programs and everyday life to the best of our ability. The 3D Printer is the newest technology so, we have put together this resource page for your interest and to better prepare you on your way to have an object printed!

3D Printer Info

The Library owns and operates a model AFP-1728 3D Printer built by S-Squared 3D Printers. Once it has been determined that the file does not violate the Library’s Policy on 3D Printing, your project will be included in a queue to be printed. To learn more about 3D printing and design, see our 3D Printer Resources page or Events Calendar to register for a program.

If you are interested in having a 3D design printed, please review the resources below and then click on the link at the bottom to submit your design.

Preparing your File

1. Creating or editing a model for the 3D Printer

You can design your object in any 3D modeling software of your choosing. Below is a list of Free 3D modeling software and open source model websites.

Ultimate Kids Guide to 3D Printing          Beginner’s Guide To 3D Printing

Free 3D Modeling Software

Recommended! Tinkercad – a browser-based 3D design platform, now part of Autodesk (free version available).

Blender – open source 3D animation suite. Enable the 3D Printing Toolbox.

OpenSCAD – free software for creating solid 3D CAD models. Useful for creating models of machine parts.

List of additional free software packages from 3ders.com.

Free Open Source 3D Model Websites

You can search for pre-existing models on the Internet to print as they are, or to modify using 3D modeling software.

3D Warehouse – Sketchup’s searchable design library.

Instructables – from the 123D community.

Thingiverse – MakerBot’s searchable design library community.

Lynda.com

lynda.com is an online learning site hosts a constantly growing library of free instructional videos to learn about a variety of topics including the latest enhancements in the sophisticated software AutoCad used in 3D modeling.

2. Formatting your File for the 3D Printer

File Type

Export your model as a stereolithography file, with an STL extension (.stl).

Dimensions

Maximum size is 304.8 x 304.8 x 304.8 mm (12 x 12 x 12 in).

Resolution

Please note that larger jobs will cost more and will require more time to print. You can specify a different quality level by making a note under “Description & Special Requests” on the 3D Printed Object Request Form.

Multiple parts

Please note that multiple parts may cause a delay in printing your object. If your model includes multiple parts, make each as a separate STL file. You can submit each model as part of the same print request.

Make a solid design

The surface of your 3D model must be watertight. This means all faces of the object must construct one or more closed volume entities. Gaps or holes in the model will cause it to print incorrectly.

See Rhino’s How do I Make a Solid Model.

Geometry check

Check your design for holes, gaps, or other problems before submission. Numerous third party tools can help you fix geometry problems, including:

  • NetFabb – provides a cloud base service and free downloadable software that can check you files
  • MeshLab – open source software for checking files

Shapeways offers a tutorial for fixing and repairing 3D models using these services.

3. Submitting your Model to the 3D Printer

Once your model is ready to go, make a 3D printing request and upload your STL file. A staff member from the Library will contact you within five business days with an estimate for the total cost (80¢ per ounce of filament used) and turnaround time and also let you know if there are any problems with the file.