How does 3D printing work?

Our 3D printers read a blueprint file (.stl) that instructs the printer how to build the part. The printer heats and extrudes Polylactic Acid (PLA) – a biodegradable substance derived from plant-based material such as sugars or starch – in a series of layers, creating one layer on top of another until the model is complete. This process often takes several hours to finish depending on the size, density, precision, and other part variables.

Some prints may require supports – additional PLA structures designed to be cut away after the part has been constructed – in order for overhangs and other precarious parts to be created without skewing the parts dimensions.

What is an .stl file?

A stereolithography (stl) file is a format that provides 3D printers the blueprint to print a part. The .stl file is created as an export option in many 3D software applications such 3D Studio Max, Maya, Google Sketchup, and Blender.

How much does a 3D print cost?

3D prints cost 10 cents per gram. The cost per gram is based on a variety of factors including time, labor, machine wear, and the estimated weight of the print (in grams).

3D prints are purchased with URos (Flex) at the Help Desk in Rettner 201.

How long will it take to print?

Printing usually takes hours, not minutes, and can vary depending on the level of detail of the .stl file and other specifications. Larger, more precise models can take significantly longer to print than the same model reduced in size and precision.

How will I know when the print is done?

You will be notified via email once your print has been completed. You will also be notified if any problems occurred during the printing process that may need your attention.

What is the process for submitting my file for print?

You can submit your 3D print request through our online submission form.

Alternatively, save your .stl file to a flash drive and bring it to the Help Desk in Rettner 201. You must agree to the terms of use before your object will be printed.

3D print requests will be printed on a first come, first serve basis.

What colors are available?

We have filament available in white, green, and yellow. Each object can only be printed in one color.

Can I submit more than one file at the same time?

Yes, you can.

What is the maximum file size?

The maximum .stl file size is 50MB.

How large can my 3D model be?

The maximum dimensions for a 3D model are 6” x 6” x 6” (152mm x 152 mm x 152 mm).

What is the maximum time alloted for a print?

The 3D printers can only be operated and monitored during business hours. Therefore, prints that will exceed business hours will not be printed. The customer will be notified as to what changes could be made to reduce the print time.

Are there restrictions on what I can print?

Yes. Files containing lewd or X-rated material will not be printed.