3D Printing

The NC State University Libraries offers 3D printing at the Hill Library Makerspace.


3D Printing at the Hill Library

  • The Hill Library Makerspace's 3D printers may be used by current students, faculty, and staff.
  • A safety Orientation is required before using the Hill Library Makerspace.
  • Printers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Attend a 3D Printing workshop first for a detailed introduction.

Materials and pricing

  • You will need your own filament to use the 3D printers at the Hill Library.
  • We sell PLA filament in a variety of colors.
  • Current filaments available: MakeShaper PLA for $10.25 per 220g spool and eSUN PLA for $13.25 per 500g spool.
  • You may also source your own filament, but be aware that filament varies in quality and print settings across suppliers, even for the same type of plastic.

Payment methods at the Hill Library

  • AllCampus Account
  • Charge to a departmental account
    • ​Bring the following information: Department, Project ID number, and Bookkeeper's name, phone number, and email.
      Note: We cannot charge to grant accounts, which have Project ID numbers starting with a 5.


Use in the Library

3D Printing FAQ

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a 3D digital model. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a 3D model by building it layer by layer. For more information, see this video.

What are some practical uses of 3D printing?

3D printing enables rapid prototyping, creating functional models, and is optimal for low-volume, custom or on-demand manufacturing. It is used extensively in aerospace engineering, automotive design, prosthetics and other industries.

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. 

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, Blender, Rhino 3D, and Autodesk Fusion 360. 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

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 Proto Labs (based in Raleigh), Shapeways (online) and Stratasys (online).