3D printing

About 3D printing

3D printing is a process of creating 3D solid objects from a digital 3D file through “additive manufacturing”. In this additive process, a printable file is sliced into thin layers and then printed by the printer, layer by layer, until the object is fully formed.

3D printing can be applied to various applications, such as creating commercial products, reproducing patient-matched implants in reconstructive surgery, and replicating archaeological artifacts.

Book 3D printers

Our Library technology spaces, ThinkSpace and CreateSpace, are equipped with 3D printers (Ultimaker 2+ Connect & Ultimaker S3).

Booking is free for staff and students. Materials will also be provided for free, although options regarding material types and colours may be limited.

How to use 3D printers

Our friendly Peer Learning Advisors (PLAs) will be on site to assist you throughout the printing process. 

1 Choose, Create and design

Ahead of your booking, use  a 3D modelling program (TinkerCad is a free web application) to design and create your 3D model. Combine primitive shapes to create new models, or drag and drop objects to change their orientation and size to customise your design.

If you are completely new to 3D printing and modelling, you can come in and choose from ready-made designs to print during your booking and attend our beginner friendly workshops to help you create your own design.

2 Export the STL file

Once you’ve completed the design, export your 3D model as an STL file. Save your STL file on a USB.

For printing on Library 3D-printers, you can bring your own STL or OBJ file on a USB drive or explore the Thingiverse 3D Design community to find a design you would like to print. 

3 Import the STL File

Bring your STL file to your booking. Import the file on Cura and make any changes, such as resizing or rotating the object.

4 Check print settings

Optimal print settings depend on several factors, such as the purpose or shape of your object. You may experiment with different settings on Cura to improve your 3D printing success rate.

5 Slice your 3D model

“Slice” your model on Cura into horizontal layers and transform it into a file that our 3D printers can understand. You can check what the layers look like and how they will be printed on Cura’s preview mode. Cura will also enable you to check how long your print will take, which can vary from 1 hour to days in duration.  

6 Make a Booking and start a 3D print job

Make a booking on a Library’s 3D-printer. Bookings typically range from 1-4 hours in duration during Technology Spaces opening hours, with overnight prints accepted for late afternoon starts.

Start your print job on Cura and enjoy watching the 3D-printer in action. Collect your 3D model once the print job is complete.