3D Printing

What is 3D printing?

The 3D printer uses a melted plastic filament to create objects which have been designed on a computer. Our printers work with PLA (PolyLactic Acid) material. Following the directions of a particular design, known as G-code, the PLA passes through a nozzle. The code directs the printer to form the object, layer upon layer. In a matter of seconds, the plastic cools off.  Then, your object is ready to go!

What can I print?

By using CAD programs you can design 3D objects and go from bits to atoms in no time at all. With a 3D printer, the possibilities of innovation and creation are many.

Download: you can find designs online that are creative commons-licensed and public domain for personal use. Check out Thingiverse for a large variety.

Design using CAD (Computer Assisted Drawing): There are several free design software programs available.  Tinkercad is a basic browser-based design site that asks only for a username and password and requires no software download or installation.  It also offers extensive, helpful tutorials and will save your designs. OpenSCAD, a code-based CAD program, Blender, and FreeCAD are examples of free, popular open-source software programs that require download and installation on your computer and are a little more complex.  The Freeman Library plans to have professional CAD software from Autodesk soon available in both the Training and Innovation Labs. 

How long does it take?

Print time can vary due to a variety of factors, including whether or not the object is scaled larger or smaller than its original design, how much infill (structural support) is desired, and the resolution of the print job.  Below are examples of items that you can print on Freeman’s MakerBot Replicator 2.   Included with these items is the amount of time it took to print them (NOTE: The specification “resolution” is distinct to Makerware, software that prepares an object for printing on the MakerBot.  Also, while measurements are listed in inches, 3D printed objects are often measured in millimeters).

Teapot

Teapot

  • Resolution: Standard
  • Infill: 10%
  • Dimensions: 63.17mm x 39.31mm x 29.48mm (2.48” x 1.54” x 1.16”)
  • Time: 40 minutes
Octopus

Octopus

  • Resolution: High
  • Infill: 15%
  • Dimensions: 58.56mm x 58.86mm x 15.13mm (2.3” x 2.3” x 0.59”)
  • Time: 45 minutes
Jaws

Mr. Jaws

Resolution: Low
Infill: 10%
Dimensions: 63.60mm x 22.84mm x 11.00mm (2.5” x 0.89” x 0.48”)
Time: 15 minutes

How much does it cost?

The cost for printing is $.10 per gram of filament with a $1.00 minimum.  You will be provided with the cost before printing.  Charges are collected via cash or check by the Friends of the Library primarily for the purpose of resupplying filament.

Where & when can I print?

The Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library has two printers available in the Lee Innovation Lab.  No printing may be started one hour before closing.

Makerbot Gigabot
Makerbot Replicator 2 re:3D Gigabot
Build volume: 28.5 L x 15.3 W x 15.5 H cm
[11.2 x 6.0 x 6.1 in]
Build volume: 600mm x 600mm x 600mm build envelope (24” x 24” x 24”)

The Makerbot Replicator 2 in action.

How do I print?

Those wishing to use 3D printing service are expected to take an orientation prior to printing.  We offer orientation in a class session or on an individual basis.  Schedule a time with staff to begin printing an object yourself.  Contact Freeman Adult Reference staff for available times.

Make an Appointment to print at Freeman