Use Library's 3D Printing Service
Beaumont Library District 3D Printing FAQ
Q. What is a 3D Printer?
A. A 3D Printer is a device that works in tandem with a slicing program to take digital 3D objects and “print” them in the physical world via a variety of techniques and materials. The Beaumont Library District’s 3D Printer is a Lulzbot Mini, a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer that prints objects by heating and extruding PLA plastic in layers.
Q. What is a digital 3D object?
A. A number of different file types that define a series of coordinates and the planes between them. While there are many different types of digital 3D object, the kind that can be printed by the Beaumont Library’s printer are STL files with the .stl file extension (also labeled as “3D Object File” by Windows). Most 3D printing software can export files to an STL format.
Q. How do I get a digital 3D object?
A. There are two ways: make them, and download them. Various programs, such as TinkerCAD and Blender, are tools that can be used to create 3D objects with a lot of support and tutorials available online. To download them, websites like Thingiverse.com and myminifactory.com provide a variety of STL files to the public for free.
Q. How do I get the library to print my 3D object?
a. Send an email to 3D.email@example.com with your library card number in the subject line and one (1) STL file attached. Please include a small description of your object in the body of the email, such as the rough size of the object and special instructions for printing if applicable, so that the librarian can confirm the attached object is correct. Please also note that the library will print an object exactly as it is sent and will not make any adjustments prior to printing, nor will the library do any post processing, such as smoothing edges or removing support structures. If necessary, a full copy of the Beaumont Library’s 3D Printing policy is available on request.
Q. What objects are forbidden?
A. The library will not print objects that are weapons, parts of weapons, tools used specifically to aid in the construction of weapons, or copyrighted intellectual property that does not belong to the print requester. Objects larger than the 3D printer’s print-bed (170mm x 170mm x 157mm, or roughly 6.7in x 6.7in x 6.2in) or that are otherwise impossible to print will also be refused.
Q. Who can print?
A. Anyone with a valid library card. Objects may be deemed inappropriate and refused depending on the age of the card holder requesting.
Q. What happens if a print request is refused?
A. The requester will be told via email that the library refused to print the object and the reason for its refusal. At that point, the requester’s position in the queue is lost and they are welcome to request another print.
Q. How much does a print cost?
A. All prints cost $1.00, plus $0.05 per gram of plastic used in the print. Payment is due on pick-up. Credit/Debit card payments are accepted only on prints costing $5.00 or more.
Q. How often can I request a print?
A. Patrons may request one print per week, and may only have one active print request at a time.
Q. How quickly will my object be printed?
A. This depends on when your request was received, how many other requests are in the queue, the current filament available, and a variety of other factors. The Beaumont Library will attempt to print objects in a timely manner, but can make no promises of when any given print will be ready for pick-up.
Q. How will I know when it’s ready to pick up?
A. The requester will receive an email letting them know that the print is ready to be picked up from the library. Only the person who requested the print, or their parent or legal guardian in the event the requester is a minor, may pick up a printed item. The library will hold a print for two weeks – if the print is not picked up by then, the item becomes property of the library. Repeated instances of refusing to pick up an item may result in the revocation of 3D printing privileges.
Q. Can I make special requests, e.g. choosing the color, changing the print settings, and so on?
A. While a requester is welcome to make special requests for their print’s color, the library does not guarantee any particular color or combination of colors for any given print. Changes to print settings may be asked for as well, such as a different infill percentage or a request for no support structures, but should be done with caution. The library is not responsible for failed prints that result from altered settings, and a patron may still be asked to pay for prints that come out differently than expected as a result. Accessibility requests, such as designating someone else to pick up a print on a requester’s behalf, may also be made.
Q. What happens if a print fails?
A. If a print fails due to librarian or printer error, the library will attempt one more print. If the second print fails, the requester will be informed via email that their object failed to print and that they will not be charged unless they would like to accept the object as is. They are, at that point, free to make another request. If a print fails due to an error in the model provided, the requester will be informed via email that their object cannot print and that they will not be charged. They will, at that point, be free to make another request.
Q. What happens if a print breaks after I’ve accepted it?
A. The library does not guarantee the structural integrity, durability, or overall quality of any items produced via the library’s 3D printer. The library is not responsible for any breaking, chipping, or other failures of printed items that are picked up by the requester.
Q. Where can I find the full 3D printing policy?
A. The Beaumont Library District’s full 3D printing policy is available on request, or online at bld.lib.ca.us.
Click here to read the library's 3D Printing Policy.