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Idea Factory - 3D Printing

Please Note:The Library Elf service will be discontinued in Jan. 2019

What is a 3D printer?

A 3D printer is a machine that creates solid objects from digital objects in a computer. The printer does this by ‘drawing’ an item in plastic, layer-by-layer until it has created a full object. Learn more by reading our frequently asked questions below or visiting here.

3D Printing is as easy as 123:

1. Find a 3-D object to print.

DOWNLOAD IT! You can look at thousands of different pre-made 3D objects that are ready to download and print by visiting the website If you find an item that you like, write down the object’s name and the website location so you can put it on the submission form. Click here to find an item to print on Thingiverse.

SCAN IT! If you have a small item like a toy or clay sculpture you would like to transform into a digital object, the Idea Factory has a Makerbot Digitizer 3D scanner. This special devices turns your object on a platform and takes hundreds pictures and measurements from different angles. You can then print the resulting 3D file.

MODEL IT! You can also create 3D objects from scratch using special 3D modeling software. If you are an engineer or digital artist, you may already know how to use programs such as Autocad, Solidworks, or Maya. Our 3D printers accept the file types .obj and .stl only. If you would like to learn a free 3D modeling program, we recommend looking at Tinkercad, Sketchup, or the more advanced tool Blender.Click here to model an item with Tinkercad.

2. Fill out an online submission form.

You can submit a 3d Print Submission form online by clicking here: Online Submission
You can also download and print the form and turn it in on paper: Download Form
Forms can be brought to the customer service desk at the Rawlings Library on the 2nd floor.

3. Pick up and pay for your print.

PCCLD currently makes 3D prints for a flat rate of $0.05 per minute. The print time is based on the time estimate that can be found in the print-preview feature in the Lulzbot & Cura software. PCCLD will print the items for you and will contact you by e-mail or phone when your print is ready for pick-up. All printed items will be available at the customer service counter on the 2nd floor of the Rawlings Library. Currently, you can pay for your print at the events ticketing counter in the InfoZone on the 4th floor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does a 3D printer work?

To create an object, the printer first pulls in a thin filament of plastic from a spool. The filament is fed into a heated nozzle, which works like a miniature hot-glue gun. The printer then moves this nozzle over a build-platform in order to draw a flat picture in plastic. Once one layer is drawn, the build-platform moves down a tiny fraction of an inch. The printer then draws a new layer directly on top of the previous layer. Repeat this process several hundred times, and you have a fully printed object! For more information about 3D printing you can read this Wikipedia Article.

What can I print?

The 3d printer prints digital object files. The object files must be in either the .stl or .obj format. Your object must be designed to fit within a box measuring 11” long, 6” wide, and 6” high. The object will be composed from hard plastic, either ABS or PLA depending on your choice of color.

What does it cost?

PCCLD currently makes 3D prints for a flat rate of $0.05 per minute. The print time is based on the time estimate that can be found in the print-preview feature in the Lulzbot & Cura software.

How long does printing take?

Printing time depends on the object’s size and on if it is solid or mostly hollow. A pair of small ear rings might take 5-10 minutes to print, whereas a coffee mug might take 3 hours.