3D Printing in the Forest

In the interest of providing our community with access to emerging technologies and resources, patrons can now make appointments to have three dimensional objects made with the library’s MakerBot 3D printer! Do you have a 3D model or creation you would like to make at the library?

Printable Version of This Page

Availability & Guidelines

3D printing services will be available to the public by appointment only. While the library will strive to ensure that all appointment times will be fulfilled, it reserves the right to cancel the appointment should scheduling issues arise. If the schedule for the printer becomes unduly full, patrons will be limited in the number of appointments they may make in order to ensure that everyone has access to the device.

Alternatively, patrons may submit files to be printed and picked up at a later date.  Upon receipt of a file submission, staff will prepare the file for printing and contact the patron to let them know when they can pick up the finished item as well as the estimated cost.

The library’s 3D printer may only be used for lawful purposes. Any desired material that breaks the law, poses a threat to the wellbeing of another, or is considered obscene will not be printed. Further, the library reserves the right to refuse any print request for any reason whatsoever. When a patron arrives for a scheduled appointment, they will need to bring a file of the 3D object that is to be printed in an acceptable format (e.g. .stl, .obj, makerbot project file). They may also submit their file before the appointment.

  • Submitted files must be .STL or .OBJ file types.  If they are already prepared in Makerbot Desktop, you may give us the project file (.THING).
  • Our printer’s build volume is 11.2 x 6.1 x 6.1 inches (roughly the size of a shoebox). Submitted objects must fit within these parameters or be resized.
  • The maximum available print time for your project will be 6 hours. We will not be able to take on projects if they require more than 6 hours to complete.

Upon receiving the file, the library staff will adjust the object with our MakerBot software in order to make it compatible on our 3D printer and will ensure that the project can be produced within the time constraints of the appointment. In the event that the object is not feasible or acceptable, the library staff will work with the patron to make adjustments and see if an appropriate object can be printed during their appointment.

For more details on our Makerbot 3D hardware and using the MakerBot software, view our 3D Printing Basics document.

Resources

FREE 3D PRINTING RESOURCES AND SOFTWARE:

Maker bot Desktop: This is the free software used to prepare your models for the Makerbot 3D printer. This program is also on the computers in our electronic classroom.

http://www.makerbot.com/desktop

Thingiverse: Free, downloadable 3D models created and shared by makers all over the world.

http://www.thingiverse.com/

Tinkercad: Free web-based 3D modeling

https://www.tinkercad.com/

Sketch Up: Free 3D modeling software. Also available on the computers in the electronic classroom.

http://www.sketchup.com/

3D Printing Basics Handout

Cost

There will be a $5 flat fee and an additional $.10 per gram fee for any usage of the 3D printer. These charges reimburse the library for the costs of materials (e.g. filament and parts) and do not provide it with profit.

Our Technology Department offers an introductory class on 3D Printing and Design to help get you started. Check our Tech Calendar for the next scheduled session.

Orientation & Training

Before printing, library staff will demonstrate the basics of the 3D printer to the patron and how to operate the menu functions. The staff will also brief the patron on the dos and don’ts of device safety. If the patron desires additional training on the 3D printer, the library will offer a more intensive bimonthly class on the printer’s operation. Regardless of the level of training, no patron may operate the device without the supervision of a trained library staff member.


File Submission

Files should be submitted to Derek Anderson  using the form below. For questions call Derek at 205.978.3683. All submissions must comply with the library’s 3D printer policies.

Upon receipt of your file submission, staff will prepare the file for printing and contact you to let you know when you can pick up your object as well as the estimated cost.

  • Accepted file types: stl, obj, thing.
    Allowed extensions include .stl, .obj, and .thing