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3D Printing: 3D Printing

3D Printing

3D Printers Available in the Idea Lab/Makerspace

MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer

The MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer provides Fifth Generation ease of use and connectivity for all your 3D printing needs. Offering the easiest and most versatile way to get from 3D model to 3D print, the MakerBot Replicator’s large build volume accelerates rapid prototyping and model making. 100-micron layer resolution accelerates the design process by enabling professional-quality, high-resolution prototypes and models to be created right at your desk. Perfect for educational use. Educates students how to think, imagine, create, craft and print in 3D, while preparing them for the jobs of the future. Note: The Makerbot Replicator only uses PLA filament.

The LulzBot TAZ 5

The LulzBot® TAZ is a versatile, high performance desktop 3D printer for industrial users that respects your freedom to create.
The two new upgrades to TAZ 5 include the LulzBot® Hexagon all metal hot end and the PEI print surface. With the all metal hot end, you can take advantage of the cutting edge market for new materials, from HIPS, PLA, and ABS, to wood-, metal-, and stone-like! The PEI print surface allows easy, low maintenance 3D printing so you don't have to worry about using tape, adhesives, or solvents to help objects stick to the print bed.

FAQ of 3D Printing

3D Printing FAQ

What is 3D printing? How does it work?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. The 3D printer uses a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), in which a plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle which melts the plastic. Computer-controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. The object is built this way, one layer at a time, from the bottom up. 

What are some practical uses of 3D printing?

There are a multitude of practical applications for 3D printing, from educational assignments to aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models; it is used for low-volume, custom, or on-demand manufacturing.

What software can you use to make printable 3D models?

There are many different programs that can produce printable 3D models. Most 3D modeling software will output the filetype our machines use, the .stl file. Solid modeling CAD software is much more likely to produce a successful print than surface modeling software. A few popular options are SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor, 3DS Max, Creo, Blender, Rhino 3D, Sketchup and Tinkercad.

For beginners, we recommend starting with Tinkercad. It is web-based, optimized for 3D printing, and easy to get started with. For a free account, visit

What if I need help?

3D printing is a new resource in the CMMC.  However the library staff will work with you to help you build your model and convert it to the file that is needed to print successfully. Remember, 3D printing is an experiment.  Prints will not always turn out as you expect them to.  When you submit your print request, the librarian will contact you via email to get more information on your project and the experience you have with 3D printing.


Some info. from:

3D Modeling Software/Websites

Online Tutorials

3D Printing at the Creek-Quick Facts

3D Printing in the News

3D Printing News

Want to keep up-to-date on the latest 3D printing news?  Click the link above.



Making Original 3D Designs with Tinkercad


Browse these sites and find  inspiration for your own creations as well as actual models you can download and print.

  • 3D Content Central
  • 3D Warehouse
  • Bld3r
  • Blend Swap
  • GrabCAD
  • Instructables
  • NIH 3D Print Exchange
  • Yeggi
  • Youmagine