3D Printing

The Hunt Library Makerspace offers a 3D printing service with high-end capabilities, while the D.H. Hill Makerspace offers do-it-yourself access to consumer 3D printers. If you just want something printed, Hunt is your best option; if you want to learn how to use a 3D printer and are willing to put in the time and effort, D.H. Hill is for you.

3D Printing at Hunt

The Hunt Library Makerspace's 3D printing service is available to all currently affiliated NCSU students, faculty, and staff, and Centennial Campus Affiliates.* The service costs are:

Stratasys uPrint SE Plus $10 per cubic inch of material, $5 minimum ABSplus plastic 0.254 mm (.010 in) layer height white only soluble support material
Lulzbot Taz 6 $0.35 per gram of material, $5 minimum PLA plastic 0.2 mm (.008 in) layer height many colors breakaway supports (user removes)
Formlabs Form 2 $0.60 per mL of material, $5 minimum Photo-polymer resin

0.025 mm (0.001 in) layer height

several colors

breakaway supports (user removes)

To use the service, bring your STL file into the Hunt Library Makerspace during our open hours. We’ll help you decide which machine to use, tell you how much it will cost, and estimate how long it will take.

At Hunt, you can pay with a credit/debit card or charge to a departmental account. To charge to a department, please bring the following information: Department, Project ID number, and Bookkeeper's name, phone number, and email. We cannot charge to grant accounts, which have Project ID numbers starting with a 5.

*Centennial Campus Affiliates must first obtain a Wolfpack One Card.

3D Printing at Hill

The D.H. Hill Makerspace's 3D printers are available for first-come, first-serve use by currently affiliated students, faculty, and staff who have attended our D.H. Hill Makerspace Orientation. If you have never used a 3D printer before, our staff can help you get started, though you may want to attend a 3D Printing workshop first for a more thorough introduction.

To use a 3D printer at D.H. Hill, you will need to purchase a spool of filament. We sell PLA filament in a variety of colors in the Makerspace. We currently have MakeShaper PLA for $10.25 per 220g spool. You may also bring your own filament in, but be aware that filament varies in quality and print settings across suppliers, even for the same type of plastic.

At Hill, you can pay with your AllCampus Account card or charge to a departmental account. To charge to a department, please bring the following information: Department, Project ID number, and Bookkeeper's name, phone number, and email. We cannot charge to grant accounts, which have Project ID numbers starting with a 5.

The 3D printers at Hill are:

LulzBot Mini 3mm filament Cura LulzBot Edition software




Use in the library


What is 3D printing? How does it work?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a 3D digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. All of our current 3D printers use 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 aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models, and is also used for low-volume, custom, or on-demand manufacturing.

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

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, you can join the NCSU Libraries Tinkercad team using this link: http://go.ncsu.edu/tinkercad

However, almost all 3D modeling software will output the filetype (STL) our machines require. There are many options; a few popular ones are SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor, 3DS Max, Creo, Blender, Rhino 3D, and Sketchup. In general, solid modelers will be easier to print from than surface modelers. Information on software available to students and staff can be found at software.ncsu.edu and www.eos.ncsu.edu/software

Is the library the first place at NCSU to have 3D printers?

No, we are not, but we are the first to offer 3D printing services to all NCSU students, faculty, and staff. The Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics on campus has long done research on 3D printing, including with cutting edge processing and advanced materials such as titanium. The College of Design has also long had a 3D printing service for its students.

What if I need to 3D print with higher resolution, faster turnaround time, or different materials?

There are many professional 3D printing services available, including Fineline Prototyping (based in Raleigh), Shapeways (online) and Stratasys (online).