What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital file. A computer-controlled 3D printer lays down layer upon layer of melted material (usually some type of plastic) until the final object is formed. Nearly anything that can be imagined can be 3D printed: toys, household objects, office supplies, tools, models, and more.
What equipment is available?
The Library has six different 3D printers available:
- FlashForge Creater Pro (2)
- FlashForge Finder (4)
How does 3D printing work at MCL?
- To use a 3D printer at MCL you will need to be trained and badged by the Lead Innovator.
- Contact MetaSpace 511 at firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 363-6411 ext 4111 to make an appointment.
- The materials used for 3D printing is: PLA only with a variety of colors in stock for use at .10 cents a gram for prints and supports. No outside filament is allowed.
- Once trained and badged make an appointment to come in to start your 3D print in person and verify the first layer sticks. You may leave while your 3D print is running and come back for it. MetaSpace 511 staff will stop your print if it fails.
- 3D prints must be under 6 hours and completed before the library closes.
- Pick up your 3D printed object in MetaSpace 511 once it’s finished.
Find, create, or remix your own digital design.
There are many file-sharing sites packed with pre-made creations from around the globe. Just download a file you like. Some of the most popular sites include: Thingiverse, YouMagine, MyMiniFactory, 3DShook, and PinShape just to name a few. If you’d like to tackle making your own design from scratch, try the free online designer TinkerCAD. MetaSpace 511 staff does not do any design work.
- 3D printing projects must be designed, sliced, and started by customers, staff will not print files but will help with guidance in getting started.
- Projects using the 3D printer must be pre-approved by staff prior to use to ensure proper file format, size, and materials.
- Staff reserves the right to deny the use of tools, equipment, or consumable materials, or to halt, delete, or cancel the creation of items that violate any library policy.
- 3D printing must be completed by the patron and staff will not accept and print emailed files.
- 3D printing projects that require a longer printing time may be picked up by the patron at a later time.
Finishing and picking up your 3D print.
Please make arrangements to come back to pick up your finished 3D print when it is completed or soon after. If arrangements have been made to place 3D prints at the Circulation Desk for pick up, you will have 7 days to pick up your print at.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much does it cost?
Cost is calculated by the final weight of your design and the supports that go with it. The filament (plastic) is 10 cents per gram. For example, a toy soldier or cookie cutter might cost $1 – $2.
What if I need more help?
The library offers basic 3D printing classes and 1:1 appointments throughout the year. Check our online calendar for upcoming sessions. Staff may be able to offer limited assistance at other times. For more advanced help, set up an appointment to meet with the Lead Innovator at (262) 363-6411 ext. 4111
How long does 3D printing take?
Printing times vary depending on the size and complexity of the object. Smaller objects may take only 20 minutes. larger objects may take several hours.
What colors are available?
Currently we have red, white, blue, orange, black, clear, yellow, purple, silver, gold, green, and pink. Please note that some colors may not be available and substitutions may need to be made.