3D Printer

3D printing allows you to turn your ideas into real, 3D objects. Create 3D models with free and easy-to-use tools, then we’ll print your designs on our LulzBot Taz 5 in colorful PLA filament.

See our 3D printer in action in this timelapse video or submit a Makery Reservation request for a one-hour, one-on-one introduction to learn more.

How it works

lulzbot_layers_smallOur 3D printer builds your model layer-by-layer from PLA filament. Solid filament is heated until it is soft enough to be extruded from the printer’s “hot end” in thin strands. Directions sent from the computer tell the extruder where to move and deposit filament, starting from the model’s base and moving upward.

cura_infillBefore printing, a “slicer” program virtually divides the model into thin horizontal layers. Our slicer, Cura, can also transform a solid model into a hollow shell. “Infill”, a waffle-like support structure, fills the inside of the model. The greater the infill density, the stronger the print will be—but it will also take substantially longer and more material to print.

lulzbot_supportedSuccessful models are well-supported from bottom to top. Parts that extend out in midair—like raised arms or a diving board—tend to droop or fall, because there’s nothing to hold the filament up as it’s extruded.

lulzbot_overhangSome degree of overhang is possible. If a part extends at an angle—especially one that is more vertical than horizontal, and depending on the orientation relative to the x- and y-axis—there may be enough overlap for one layer of filament to rest on the previous.

3dprinter_hand_cropKeep this in mind when designing and orienting your model. Think about which side will rest on the print bed and serve as the base. You might rotate your model so it prints “sideways”, if that ensures all parts are supported.

lulzbot_supportsThe printer software can add supports, if the model cannot be self-supporting. You will have to cut away the excess material when it’s done, which can be difficult, especially if your model is delicate. If indicated, supports will be generated automatically where overhangs are pronounced.

Submissions

Requirements

In order to get you the best prints as quickly as possible, we ask that you adhere to these guidelines when submitting files. Files must be print-ready; to assure the accuracy of all prints, staff will not make modifications to models.

Format: STL (STL files can be exported from from Tinkercad, Meshmixer, and many other modeling apps.)

Maximum dimensions: 298 mm x 275 mm x 250 mm (11.7 in x 10.8 in x 9.8 in) — All models should be submitted at actual print size. We will not resize models.

Maximum print time: 6 hours

User Agreement: All submissions will be reviewed by staff and must follow the Makery 3D Printer User Agreement. Please submit a signed copy of the agreement beforehand or include it with your request.

When requesting a 3D print, include the following information with your file:

  1. Name and library card number
  2. Print dimensions
  3. Color — Choose from white, silver-grey, black, red, orange, yellow, translucent green, medium-bright blue, or brown.
  4. Brim or no brim — A brim is a single-layer of material added around the perimeter of the model’s base to increase stability during printing. Brims are generally easy to remove. View an example here.
  5. Supports or no supports — Supports are added wherever the printer software detects overhangs and may cover a substantial portion of the model. These supports add a negligible amount of material, which may increase printing cost. We cannot show you a preview of the automatically generated supports. View an example here.

Files may be submitted by email (up to a maximum of 5 MB) or in person.


Cost

Prints are priced at $0.10/g. To determine how much your model will cost, find the estimated mass of your print:

  1. Open your STL file in Cura.
  2. Select PLA as the material and choose Normal print quality.
  3. Cura will calculate the mass of your model in grams and display this in the upper left, which will allow you to estimate price.

After you submit a file, a staff member will review the model. We will contact you to confirm the price before printing.


Questions?

Submit a Makery Reservation request for one-on-one assistance. Please submit your request at least 48 hours in advance. A staff member will contact you to set up and confirm your one-hour appointment.


Submissions will be handled in the order in which they are received, with priority given to library programs. Staff will contact you when your model is ready to pick up.

 

3D Software + Resources

Anyone can learn 3d design. There are projects and software for all skill levels. We’ve installed several free programs, including:
 

screenshot_tinkercadTinkercad — Make models in your browser with simple CAD tools and save them online.
Visit Tinkercad and set up an account
Watch a beginner tutorial video from lynda.com

screenshot_sculptrisSculptris — Sculpt a ball of virtual clay using intuitive tools.
Download Sculptris
Watch a video of Sculptris in action

screenshot_meshmixerMeshmixer — Remix existing models, sculpt, stamp, and texturize.

Additional resources

Examples