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3D Printing & More
3D Printing @ TCPL
3D printing is a process by which digital 3D designs are transformed into physical objects through heating a plastic filament. TCPL currently uses a PolyPrinter 229. All objects are printed using ABS single-color plastic.
Submitting a 3D Print Request:
Our 3D printer is staff-administered. To submit a print order, please bring your object as an .STL file format, saved on a flash drive, to the library Reference Desk any time during our regular open hours. Designs should be complete and ready for printing at the time of drop-off. Each component/object should be saved as one file and each file will be printed in a single color ABS plastic filament. We are unable to offer other filament types at this time.
The cost for 3D printing is 10¢ per gram of plastic filament used, with a $1 minimum. The total cost is determined by the weight of the completed object. Upon request, an estimate can be provided before printing begins but please keep in mind the final weight/cost may vary.
Objects are typically completed within 2-3 business days but can take longer depending on the size and complexity of the object(s), the number of pending 3D prints in the queue, and the availability of library staff able to run the machine. Once your object is completed, the library will contact you to let you know your item is ready for pickup. Objects will be held for 7 days at the Circulation Desk near the Library's front entrance.
- TCPL uses a PolyPrinter 229, with a .35 mm nozzle.
- All objects are printed using ABS single-color plastic.
- Color availability is subject to change but the library frequently carries the following: white, black, gray, blue, red, and yellow. Please ask to see our current color selection when your file is dropped off. If your desired color is unavailable, objects can also be painted with any plastic-safe paint.
- Objects must be smaller than 9" x 9" x 9"
Other things to consider:
- Certain designs may not work on our machine and/or filament type. If an object fails after three attempts, the library will not be able to complete that particular design.
- Library staff is unable to modify designs or fix broken files. Objects will be printed as is, according to the submitted design.
- The library reserves the right to refuse any design at the discretion of library staff.
*TCPL uses an FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printer with a .35 mm nozzle. With this type of modeling, the object is printed with "supports" to keep the shape of the object stable until the plastic cools enough to hold the shape. These "supports" are extra thin layers of plastic that are meant to be broken off once printing is complete. These support layers can leave "scarring" on the object and may need to be sanded down to achieve a clean finish on the plastic surface.
Keep in mind that when printing small, detail-heavy figurines - such as D&D miniatures - sanding may not be possible due to the intricate features of the design and it is likely heavy scarring will remain. Although we can always attempt prints of small figurines as requested, these designs often do not turn out as desired. For high-detail items, a resin printer will generally yield much better results.
Online 3D Design Resources
You can create your own 3D designs using the following free and readily available software:
- You can also search for and download predesigned 3D object files on Thingiverse.