What is 3-D Printing?
3-D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital model. 3-D Printers don't use regular printer ink, but special filaments and materials that are then heated up and drawn onto a hot plate, layer by layer, to create the design. That's where "additive" comes from; the printer is adding material bit by bit to create the finished product.
The library has two 3-D printers: an Ultimaker 3 and a brand-new Ultimaker S7. You can see our Ultimaker 3 in action in our lobby across from the Circulation desk on the main floor!
Take a look at some items our patrons have printed in the slideshow below. Want to print something? Keep scrolling for more details!
To print with us:
Read our 3-D Printing Policy to get started!
Complete our online 3-D Print Request Form. You can pick from a selection of Ready to Print 3-D Designs or you can submit your own. The required file type for 3-D Print files is OBJ, STL, or 3MF. We use a variety of colored PLA filament for our print jobs.
We aim for a turnaround time of 2 weeks, but actual turnaround will depend on the size of the queue. For print jobs greater than 5 hours, we cannot guarantee an explicit turnaround time.
You can also download our paper 3-D Print Request Form and submit via e-mail with your files attached to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are visiting the library, you can bring your completed form and a USB drive with the files to the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor.
Looking for ideas? Scroll on down or check out our 3-D Printing Resources handout for links to databases and other information!
3-D Printing Resources
To find designs:
- Thingiverse contains large online collection of 3-D models created by site users. The models on Thingiverse are free to download and mostly ready to print. Categories include Fashion, Hobby, Household, Tools, and more.
- Youmagine is an online collection of 3-D models run by Ultimaker, the manufacturer of the library’s 3-D printer. Thousands of free designs are available!
- Cults3d is another website with quite the collection of models for you to browse. Most models are free, but some are available for purchase. They also have themed "collections" for projects with a purpose!
- MyMiniFactory has a variety of 3-D models, both for free and for purchase. There are also forums to share your designs and connect to the larger 3-D Printing community.
To build your own design:
- TinkerCAD is one of the most user-friendly 3-D modeling web browser tools out there. Manipulate pre-rendered 3-D shapes and create your own unique designs to print.
- Sketchup is another great piece of software for beginning 3-D modelers, available in a web browser.
- MatterControl is a free, open-source 3-D modeling software for Mac, Windows, and Linux, that lets you design your parts from scratch or using existing projects. It has a bit of a learning curve, but can be used with any 3-D Printer and is great for long-term usage.
For more information:
- 3-D Printing Glossary from HP's Tech Takes is a short and sweet glossary of essential 3-D printing terms to help you find your footing in this new world. It also includes links to other helpful articles on a variety of related 3-D printing topics.
- 3-D Printing Knowledge Base explains what 3-D printing is all about through a collection of articles and other resources. Learn about some of the most exciting and innovative applications of this emerging technology, and get some tips and inspiration for your own 3-D modeling & printing projects!
3-D Printing Documentation
- 3-D Printing resources
- Paper 3-D Print Submission Form
- 3-D Printing Policy
- Ready-to-Print 3-D Printer Designs