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3D Printing at the Grace Hauenstein Library: Policy & Pricing

Policy & Pricing

Welcome to 3D Printing at the Grace Hauenstein Library

The Library has one 3D printer in its Media Center. All members of the Aquinas community are encouraged to make use of this exciting technology.


  • Cost will be determined by the filament weight of the item printed.
  • The current rate is $0.10 per gram for a single color print job. All print jobs under 10 grams will be rounded up to $1.00.
  • The cost for printing multiple colors will be $0.20 per gram.  All multicolor prints under 5 grams will be rounded up to $1.00.

Filament colors available:

  • Glow-in-the-dark Green
  • Gray
  • Purple
  • Natural

This filament (PLA) can be composted at commercial compost facilities.

3D Printing Policy

Policies for 3-D printing at the library:

  • Only designated Library staff will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.
  • Patrons submit an STL, OBJ or other 3D modeling software file on a flash drive or a link to an online file to media students at Media students will then print the object.
  • Once the design is printed, media students will notify the patron via email it is ready for pick up in the Media department and state how much the printer job cost
  • If a patron requests it, a cost estimate can be generated prior to printing. An exact cost will be determined after the print is completed.
  • Patrons are responsible for the costs associated with most errors, including errors in the file, incorrect files, and breakage of parts due to insufficient strength or mishandling. Costs associated with errors caused by printer malfunctions will be absorbed by the library.
  • Items must be picked up by the individual who requested them. Items printed from the library 3D printer not picked up within 30 days after being printed become the property of the Grace Hauenstein Library and the patron who requested the print job/s will be charged for the item/s.

 Some general guidelines:

  • The print must fit within the printer’s build volume (25.2 L X 19.9 W X 15.0 H cm).
  • The printers may only be used for lawful purposes and be for objects appropriate for an academic library.
  • Printed objects must not infringe upon any third party’s intellectual property rights.
  • Objects must not be illegal nor can they be construed as having the intent to harm.
  • The library reserves the right to refuse any print request at the discretion of library staff.


3D Modeling Software

Free 3D Software

  • Tinkercad
    Tinkercad has a free version of its software that creates 3D digital models. This is a great program for beginners and is used in the web browser.
  • Autodesk 123D Design
    Free design software that can be used as a web app, downloaded to PC or Mac, or as an iPhone/ipad app. This is a great program for beginners.
  • SketchUp
    SketchUp Make is a free 3D drawing tool.
  • Blender
    Blender is a free open source computer graphics software that can be used for 3D modeling.
  • Sculptris
    Sculptris is a virtual sculpting program.
  • OpenSCAD
    OpenSCAD is a free software to create solid 3D CAD objects.
  • Meshlab
    Meshlab is an free open source program for processing and editing unstructured 3D triangular meshes.
  • Meshmixer
    Meshmixer is a free prototype design tool.
  • Netfabb
    Netfabb is a free software that processes and repairs stl files to prepare them for 3D printing.

Object Repositories / Communities

  • Thingiverse
    Thingiverse is a community to discover, make, and share 3D models. Users can download files of objects that others have made. Several of the objects can be customized and modified.
  • Yeggi
    Yeggi is a search engine to find 3D printable objects.
  • Repables
    Open repository of digital files suitable for 3D printing.
  • Sketchup 3D Warehouse
    Sketchup's design library of 3D models.
  • Smithsonian X3D
    Collection of 3D models of various artifacts from the Smithsonian Museums.
  • NIH 3D Print Exchange
    Search, browse, download, and share 3D biomedical printable models including custom labware.
  • NASA 3D Resources (Beta)
    NASA's 3D resources site that includes several printable models in .STL format.
  • British Geological Survey
    Site contains many 3D models of fossils. You can download an OBJ file to use in 3D printing.
  • has several 3D models of significant fossils and artifacts in categories such as hominids, animals, and tools. It is a partnership with Autodesk, National Geographic, the Turkana Basin Institute, the National Museum of Kenya, and Stony Brook University.
  • The Collection - Art & Archaeology Museum
    3D Scan project by artist Oliver Laric at The Usher Gallery at The Collection in Lincolnshire, UK.
  • The Virtual Hamspon Museum
    3D scans of Native American artifacts from the Hampson Archeological Museum State Park in Wilson, Arkansas. OBJ files are included.

3D Printing Terms

Common 3D Printing Terms

3D Printing - 3D printing is sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping. It is the process of creating a three dimensional physical object from a digital model. The 3D printer builds the object vertically by putting down layer upon layer of material.

3D Scanner -  a device that analyzes an object or environment and creates several data points that are then used to construct a 3D model

ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene - a common bioplastic used as a filament in some 3D printers. ABS is used in many household products and is the plastic used in Lego bricks

Autocad - software used in 2D and 3D computer aided design and drafting

Blender - free open source computer graphics software that can be used for 3D modeling

Build Plate - surface on which the 3D model is formed during the printing process

Bukobot - open source 3D printer designed by Deezmaker

Extruder - part of the 3D printer that melts the filament and places it onto the build platform

Filament - the plastic that is heated and extruded to create the physical 3D object

Infill - measured as a percentage, fills the empty space inside the object - most objects are created with a honeycomb shaped infill pattern

Makerbot - New York based maker of the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

Makerware - software from Makerbot that works with other 3D modeling software to add supports and rafts, and customize how an object is printed

Mesh - polygon models used in 3D comprised of vertices, edges, and faces

OpenSCAD - free software to create solid 3D CAD objects.

Overhang - section of a 3D model where there is no support below that section.  Supports and / or rafts may be used to ensure proper printing

PLA - Polylactic Acid - type of plastic filament used by the LulzBot.  PLA is a bioplastic that is made from items such as corn starch.

Raft - a flat layer of filament used to prevent warping, stabilize objects, and helps non-flat surface objects adhere to the build plate

Resolution - layer thickness that is produced by the printer, a Makerbot Replicator 2 has a resolution up to 100 microns.

SD Card - Secure Digital - memory card format used in portable devices, including the Makerbot Replicator 2

Sketchup - free 3D drawing tool

STL - STereoLithography - File format created by 3D Systems

Supports - thin, easily removable material that is laid down where there are overhangs or large gaps in the object

Thingiverse - a repository where people can discover, make, and share 3D models. Users can download files of objects that others have made. Several of the objects can be customized and modified

Tinkercad - in addition to paid versions, has a free version of its software that creates 3D digital models

X3G - file type used by Makerbot 3D printers and created with Makerware software


Many thanks to Jennifer Horton at SIU for giving permission to use content from her 3D Libguide at