How do I use the 3D Printer?
Begin by registering on our 3D Printing website. Once you've registered, you can upload your print jobs using our 3D Printing Services website. Staff will review the details of the job and provide you with a cost estimate.
Once you approve the estimated cost your job will be approved and we will print the object to your specifications. The final price for your job will be calculated when the job has completed. You are able to check your job status any time using our 3D Printing interface. You will receive an email when your job is printed. When you pick-up the print job, you will then need to provide payment.
Who can use the 3D printer?
Customers will require a valid library card and must register for a 3D printing account. Children and teens under 14 years of age will require parental permission to proceed with a print job.
How much does it cost to print an object?
Printing costs $0.10 per gram, rounded to the nearest gram. We will provide you with an estimate for your job and will require your approval before proceeding.
Can I see my object being printed?
We will print all requested jobs using the 3D printer at Central Library. You are welcome to visit Central Library to watch the 3D printer work, however we can't guarantee when we will proceed with your project (we might be printing someone else's job first). You will receive an email when your print job is completed.
How do I clean up my completed print job?
Your 3D print job will be supplied to you with raft and supports. Raft helps the job stick to the print bed while printing, and supports ensure that overhangs and fine details print properly.
Raft typically peels away but if it sticks to the bottom of your job use pliers to gently pry it away from each corner of the print and then use a palette knife or scraper to separate the raft from the job. Be careful while doing this as the scraper can slip.
Support also typically peels away but you may need pliers or strong tweezers to pull it away from the various nooks and crannies in your job. You can also use a metal file to smooth out your job.
What file formats do you accept print jobs in?
Currently we are accepting .stl files and/or links to digital files on Thingiverse. There are many different digital files that are used to store a 3D mesh (the 3D design which is ready to print), but our preferred file is an .stl file.
Sometimes when I send your print service a file, I'm told it's too small and you tell me a size that doesn't match what I designed. What's going on?
STL files are unitless. So the designer (you in this case) has to ensure that the export is in sync with the printer unit. Most 3D printers and their software use mm as their units. Many 3D design programs made in the U.S. design in inches.
When you export your design, set the output of your software to mm. If you just use "units" or allow the software to use a default, the size can be unexpected.
Sometimes when I send your print service a file, I'm told it has internal defects or holes that make it impossible to print. How do you determine this?
We use the most current version of Ultimaker Cura as our slicing software. We have several extensions installed to assist us with customer files and the extension Mesh Tools helps us determine whether the file you have sent us has a good chance of successfully printing. We also use our previous 3D printing experience.
If we can, we will attempt to repair simple defects but many times the issues are too profound for us to repair so we will need to cancel the job and notify you of the issue so you can redesign or find a more suitable file.
What is the maximum size of object I can have printed at the library?
The object or part thereof must fit within the confines of the build area in the printer. This varies and we will advise on an individual basis. Many times the restriction on size is a result of the time limit we have placed on print jobs, which is nine hours in total.
Are there any objects that I cannot print at the Library?
All print jobs are subject to staff approval and we reserve the right to deny any print job. We will not print keys, weapon components or copyright-restricted designs, or anything that isn't in keeping with our code of conduct.
What if my job fails to print?
There will be times when a submitted design will not work due to technical issues. This is usually caused by one of two things:
• The design isn't appropriate for the kind of printing process employed by the machine we have available.
• The design might have flaws which make it impossible to print successfully.
We will do our best to identify these issues to you before moving forward with a print job. We may ask you for alterations to the design at any point. If the design will not produce a viable printed object, you will not be charged for the failed job, and we will retain the material used in the attempt.
Where will my object be printed?
We currently house the on-demand printer at the Central branch. Other branches house our programming 3D printers on a rotating basis.
I am not sure what to print. Any suggestions?
If you are interested in a ready-made design, we recommend checking out the collection of free designs on a website such as Thingiverse.
How many printers does the library have?
We currently have one Ultimaker printer: the Ultimaker 3.
We currently have one LulzBot printer: the TAZ 6.
We currently have one Makerbot printer: the Replicator (5th Generation).
What material does the printer work with?
Our printers "print" (extrude) PLA plastic, a corn-based product. We usually have several colours of this plastic available.
I'd rather have my object printed in ABS or some other material, can I just bring you some of my own?
No. We use PLA for safety reasons (for both our staff and our customers) as well as the efficiency of our 3D printing service.
We are considering ways of adding other types of materials to our 3D printing service.
Do you have a 3D scanner that I can use on an existing object?
No. There are 3D scanning services available commercially and there are also scanners that can be purchased. Please be aware that consumer-level 3D scanners generally provide only a rough approximation of any given object.