The MakerSpace has two 3D printers available for use—the MakerBot 5th Generation, opens a new window and the Ultimaker 2+, opens a new window. While there are some minor differences between the two machines they are fairly comparable as far as quality and amount of time it takes to print.
One of the biggest misconceptions about 3D printing is the amount of time it takes to produce an object. It's not a quick process. For example, printing a king or queen chess piece takes approximately one hour.
Staff members can help with the equipment and provide basic software support, but are unable to design files.
What You'll Need
Use of the 3D printers is free, the only cost is for materials. Any 3D design or CAD software that allows exporting to STL format is great for designing your own files, but novices may prefer to download a pre-made file from Thingiverse, opens a new window which makes printing as easy as picking a project from a catalog.
If you’d like to design your own objects, there are many free and simple software options for 3D modeling:
- TinkerCAD, opens a new window provides tutorials and allows you to download your files for printing. Great for beginners.
- SketchUp, opens a new window is useful for 3D modeling, including prototyping and architectural design.
To get started, you’ll need your file (in .STL format) and the color filament you want to use. A staff member needs to assist you in loading the machine and ensuring the print is set up properly. Our 3D printers use PLA plastic filament derived from cornstarch; however, PLA is not food safe. MakerSpace printers only allow printing in one color. Please ask a staff member for a list of available colors.
PLA filament: A$0.10 per gram (objects are weighed at the end of the print)
PLA glow filament: $0.25 per gram (objects are weighed at the end of the print)
- Failed prints due to design error
- Prints that do not complete before a reservation expires
- Customers are permitted one four-hour session per day.
- Extra time may be granted (at the discretion of staff) if no one is waiting.
- If your project runs over your time limit, we allow it to continue to print until completion or until the next appointment arrives and is ready to print (whichever occurs first).
- Projects are stopped at closing.
- There is a 10-minute grace period before reservations are automatically cancelled.
- Reservations can be made up to six weeks in advance.
- It is strongly encouraged to book ahead of your visit to ensure availability.