What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model by using melted plastic filament. The model of an object is "sliced" digitally, with each slice being the thickness of a bead of melted filament. The object is then reconstructed one layer at a time, from the bottom up.

 What kind of 3D printer does the Library have?

The Library has a LulzBot TAZ6 printer.

What kind of plastic filament does the library use?

The library 3D printing service will use PLA (Polylactic Acid). PLA is considered the "green" plastic as it is manufactured out of plant - based materials. For more information visit 3D insider "PLA vs ABS" .

Who can use the 3D printer?


Where can I find a 3D file to print on the 3D printer?

You may:

  • find a premade file online from websites like Thingiverse.com or GrabCAD.com (check here for a list of other repositories) or
  • create your own 3D file by using a CAD (computer assisted design) program. For 3D design beginners, we recommend tinkercad.com as a free, easy-to-use, Web-based program. Sculptriss.com is also a great place to start.

How can I learn more about 3D printing?

You can check out 3D printing classes at the Library, the FabLab, the Makerspace at the IMCIllinoisMakerLab, and MakerGirl. You can also check out these great resources at The Urbana Free Library!

Can I send files for 3D printing without coming into the Library?

Yes. As long as the file types are appropriate (.STL or .OBJ format), you can visit the Library's Submit a Print Job page to begin the process of having your design printed.

How long will my print job take?

Print times can vary drastically. To get an idea about the correlation between size, time, and cost take a look at the 3D Printing Ideas page. Here you'll find examples that are labeled by size, weight, time, and cost. Larger print jobs may take hours. Library staff will give you an estimated time for your print before adding it to the queue. There is also a minimum size/time/cost. Please see the 3D Printing Service Policy for more information. Library staff will make every effort to have submitted jobs completed as soon as possible. However, no guarantee can be made as to the completion time of jobs.

Is there a limit to the amount of time my 3D print can take?

The total print time of each individual job may not exceed 10 hours.

Is there a limit to the size of the object I can print?

The build volume is limited to 11 inches × 11 inches × 9.8 inches. However, you'll likely be limited by time before you reach the size limit.

Is there a limit to the file size I can submit?

The file size may not exceed 10mb.

Can I choose my filament color?

Yes, there are a variety of colors available. Please select your two preferred color choices when submitting your job. If neither of your preferred color choices is available, the staff will contact you to let you know what choices are available prior to your job being printed.