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3D printing at the CSM Library

Hands-on 3D printing

Get familiar with the software and with setting up and using the printer (use the basic menu, change the filament, etc). Hands on! 

3D software is available on all library computers. We have only 3 printers so "first come, first served" applies. Use this guide to learn about the software and printers beforehand.

Drop in, no registration necessary. Come alone or bring friends!



Once you open an .stl file in the Ultimaker or Makerbot software, you will be able to manipulate the object's size and infill, or check whether the rafts, brims or supports are on (and if not - add them! always!)

We expect you to submit a file for a print which is smaller than the maximum dimensions (see below)

Pay attention to the file's estimated print time - it should not exceed 5 hours.*

  • How to find about the estimated print time?
    • Cura (Ultimaker): during editing, check the top of the screen to see how changes to infill, size, etc. affect the print time.
    • Makerbot: use the "Preview" option (or "Export" -> check the "Preview" option)

* if you are a CSM student and need the 3D print for a class assignment, we will extend the time.

  • Maximum dimensions of the object:
    • Ultimaker 2+:   Length: 8.8"     Width: 8.8"   Depth: 8.1";  build volume: 627 cubic inches
    • MakerBot Replicator 2: Length: 11.2"     Width: 6"    Depth: 6.1"   Diagonal: 12.7; build volume: 410 cubic inches
    • NOTE: you are unlikely to print the maximum size object in the allotted 5 hours ​
  • Resolution and details
    • Ultimaker 2x: from 20 microns (0.02 mm) to 600 microns (0.6 mm) 
    • Makerbot Replicator 2: from 100 (0.1 mm) microns to 340 microns (0.34 mm) 
    • NOTE: the higher resolution, the more detailed the print - the longer the printing time...    

WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO with CSM Library printers

Convert .stl file to a format the printer recognizes  Create an .stl file
Manipulate the size, precision of the print, etc. of the object before printing – within available parameters (scaling; the thickness of the print/filament) Assure precision and accuracy when scaling and printing the object(s)
  Cannot change the shape of the object represented in the .stl file
Print multiple parts and multiple copies of the parts (all must fit onto the plate) Cannot divide the objects into parts


THE BASICS (reminders, really)

  • We accept only .stl files
  • The library staff will check the print parameters (e.g. size) on all files.
  • We cannot guarantee confidentiality of designs or specific delivery times.
  • We cannot guarantee precise tolerances (or fitting of multi-part object).
  • We might post the photos of your prints on Instagram.


PLA: biodegradable (made from plants), lower melting temperature, less fumes...


At the one-on-one:

Bring your file or know where to find it. If this is your first encounter with 3D, do have a look at this guide, including the "Where do I find.." page. You might want to come a bit earlier to select a file from a free repository, e.g. Thingiverse.

Expect to spend at the least 1/2 hour learning the software interface, and manipulating and saving the file for printing. If a printer is available and time allows, we will start your print right away - your help in setting and running the printer is expected (easy stuff)! Setting the printer might take another 15 minutes or so. We will email you when the print is ready.


  • ​Infill is a mesh-like pattern that fills the object. Infill of the object usually varies between 10% (e.g. for a display model) to 50% (e.g. usable tool or part); note that the full range is 0% or "no fill" (hollow) to 100% or solid. We do not guarantee model's durability or stability. 
  • Raft is a horizontal latticework that is built under your print and helps adhesion to the buildplate. We strongly recommend using rafts - or brims (think: brim of a hat) as both help to stabilize the print.
  • Supports support overhangs. There you have it. Make sure you say "yes" to supports (check the box). There are relatively easy to remove afterwards. You are responsible for removing them.
  • Shell is an outline or outer perimeter wall of your object. Used with a number (e.g. 3 shells, 4 shells) describes the thickness of the wall ( number of shell times the nozzle diameter)
  • For more terminology, use the links below: