3D Printer

What is 3D Printing


3D Printed Robot

3D printing is the process of creating physical objects from a three dimensional digital model.  This technology has been around for awhile, but typically used by engineers and industry designers.

3D printing technology is quickly evolving and therefore public printing is becoming more common. Note that our printer is the Ultimaker 2.

Preparing Your 3D File for Printing

You can use a 3D modeling program to create your own file.  The Make-It Lab offers Blender and Google SketchUP on the iMacs.

Make sure to save your file in .STL. .OBJ, .DAE or .AMF format.


Cura Software

If you are not familiar with 3D modeling software, you can browse and download 3D files from a few different websites.  One is called Thingiverse and another is YouMagine.

The Ultimaker printer uses its own software called Cura (available in the Make-It Lab).   You can either load your files into Cura yourself and export the .GCODE file or you can bring in your .STL (or other) file to us.

Opening the file in Cura will allow you to check the dimensions, reshape if necessary and it will give you an estimated printing time. Maximum allowed print time is 3 hours per job.

Your end product cannot exceed the maximum build plate size of the Ultimaker 2 printer ( 8″ Wide x 8″ Deep x 7.5″ Tall ).

Printing Your 3D File

Please take your file to the Media desk and staff will assist you in getting your file printed. Staff will remove the print when it is finished. Pick up the completed print at the Reference Desk.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

  • Our 3D printer is the Ultimaker 2 – so when installing Cura it will ask for that.
  • 3D printing works from the bottom up.  If there are overhangs or arms etc, they will not print very well.  You may have to include supports so the printer can print the object correctly.
  • You may have to play with your file if the print does not print properly.  Was it too complex?  Was it too thin or have too much overhang?
  • Printing time will depend on how complex the file is for the printer.  Size, layer height, shell thickness, and fill density will impact print time, so plan your print accordingly.


  1. Choose your designs from a selection on the website Thingiverse or  YouMagine or create your own design (The Make-It Lab has Blender and/or Google SketchUP software installed). Make sure to save your file in .STL. .OBJ, .DAE or .AMF format.
  2. The 3D printer requires a .GCODE file to print. Import your file (.STL. .OBJ, .DAE or .AMF format) into the Cura software, found in the Make-It Lab (or download the free software to your own computer). Then select File > Save GCODE to save to USB or SD card.  Print size cannot exceed the build plate size of  8″ Wide x 8″ Deep x 7.5″ Tall and print time should not be longer than 3 hours.  Any print jobs over that time will not be started.
  3. Please take your file to the Media desk and staff will assist you in getting your file printed.
  4. Staff will remove the print when it is finished printing.
  5. Pick up the completed print at the Customer Service Desk. There is a charge of $5 per print.

3D Test Files

Looking to test things out? Download one of these files to get started:
(select an image to start downloading the file)