3-D Printing

3D Printing Service at Your Library:

How does 3D printing work?

  • 3D printers use spools of plastic string (instead of “ink”). The plastic is melted in the nozzle, and the nozzle moves around depositing the melted plastic in the coordinates the computer tells it to. 

  • Most important: 3D printers build your design one layer at a time, bottom to top. So, you end with what looks a bit like a stack of pancakes, in whatever shape you sent:


What will print well at the library?

  • Your Library prints with PLA plastic, which is made of sugar and corn so it’s safe to heat.

  • Generally, the more complex your print, the more time it will take. Your Library can only do prints that take up to 5 hours, and they must fit on the print bed (max 9in width, by 9in length, by 8in height) *more on how to check that later

  • Since the printer works layer by layer, bottom to top, you want to stay away from prints that have parts that would have to print without any layers beneath them. They will droop. For example, the printer had trouble with the tail and belly on this cat:


We can add supports to those parts, like in this image. You will need to break them off yourself, and they will leave some scarring on your piece.


1. You will want to Find or Make a 3D file in .stl format.

Find a File 

Use Thingiverse, following this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHJuTZ8kxRk 

Thingiverse is always free, but you can also find free/inexpensive files at https://pinshape.com/

*Note-If there is a cost for the file, you need to pay the cost, download it, and then send us the .stl file.

Make your Own 

Get started with TinkerCAD’s 3D design learning page:  https://www.tinkercad.com/learn/designs/learning. This will prompt you to make an account and do a few short tutorials.

When you finish your design, select Export in the top right of the screen and choose .stl as the format. That is the file you will send to us.

2. The .stl Needs to be Sliced into Layers

The library can do this. If you are curious:

Learn to use a “slicer” by following this article:  
https://pinshape.com/blog/3d-slicer-settings-8-things-you-need-to-know-about-3d-printing-software/. You will even learn how to change the size to get it to take less than 5 hours!

Learn more→ 

Virtual Calendar Search for keywords "3D”-https://delawarelibraries.libcal.com/calendar/virtuallibraryevents/?t=d&q=3D&cid=9904&cal=9904&inc=0

Learn a more intermediate design program after you’ve mastered TinkerCAD. 
You can create educational accounts for 
OnShape or Fusion 360 
or purchase a variety of advanced programs. 

3. Ready to Request Your Print? Fill Out Our 3D Print Request Form.