The Huntsville Public Library's 3D printer is available for public use. We use a MakerBot Replicator 2. It uses PLA, a biodegradable, corn-based plastic.
How to Print a 3D Object at the Library - Getting Started
Follow these steps to having your 3D object printed at the Huntsville Public Library.
- Find an object from a website such as Thingiverse, or create a 3D object at home or in the Creativity & Exploration Hub using SketchUp or Autodesk 123D Design software. Objects must be saved as a .STL file.
- Preview the file using MakerBot Desktop, make necessary adjustments and make note of the time-frame for the object's construction. The amount of time it will take to create the object will determine the cost.
- Submit the file in person on a USB stick and by filling out our 3D Submission Form. Staff will preview your file in Makerbot Desktop and will calculate the fee. 3D Prints must be paid for before printing. Modifications to the object's design may be made; i.e. turn on rafts and supports for quality printing.
- The Library will notify you when the printed object is ready for pick up.
3D Printing Workshops
For a hands-on introduction to 3D printing, register for our 3D printing workshop:
Introduction to 3D Printing
Learn the basics of 3D printing, including how a 3D printer works and how to use Thingiverse.com to find, download and print your own objects using the Library's 3D printer.
Visit our Computer Training page for dates and times. Registration is required.
For extra assistance with the 3D printer you can visit our Tech Help Desk or visit our YouTube channel for 3D printing tutorials.
More Information and Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use the 3D printer?
When can I use the 3D printer?
Staff will send files to the printer when the Library is open on a first come, first served basis. Print jobs that run past one hour before closing will not be started. Please be aware that there may be a queue of files waiting to be printed.
How long does it take to print a 3D object?
Print times vary depending on the size of the object and the amount of detail. Print jobs are limited to 5 hours or less. The MakerBot Desktop application will give you an estimate; click on Export Print File to see an estimated print time for your object. This program is available in the Creativity and Exploration Hub in the Library, or can be downloaded to your own computer. If using the program at home, be sure to set the Device to MakerBot Replicator 5th generation for an accurate estimate. This program will show you the specific dimensions of the object, and allow you to resize the object fit within the Library's 5 hour print limit.
What kind of 3D objects can I print?
You can find and download a ready-to-print object from a 3D object web site such as www.thingiverse.com. You can also design your own 3D object using a design program such as Autodesk 123D Design or SketchUp, both provided in the Creativity and Exploration Hub.
Printing any items that contravene the Library's Code of Conduct Policy and Signage or Technology @ HPL Policy is not allowed.
When can I pick up my 3D object?
Staff will contact you when your print job is completed.
What colour can I print my object in?
Available filament includes: black, blue, green, red, white and yellow.
How much does it cost?
A printing fee will be $0.05 per minute with a $2 administration fee, with a maximum time of 5 hour printing time.
An average print job takes about 30 minutes. That will cost $3.50 (30min x 5cents = $1.50 + $2 = $3.50).