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What is a 3D Printer?
Much like a normal 2D printer prints2D on flat (2D) paper, a 3D Printer creates 3D objects. Just as there are different kinds of ink, 3D printers use different materials to produce objects. The Ultimaker 2 prints with PLA plastic, extruding it into layers a bit like a robotic hot glue gun.
Where do I start?
First you need something to print. You can go to
and pick out something you like. Take a look at the top in the URL where it says "http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:NUMBER" and write down the number after "thing:". For example, check out our plaque made in the TLC by James:
You can see in the URL that this object is thing number 647449.
You can also create your own 3D model from any of the many 3D modeling softwares available. We tend to use
but you can use any modeling software as long as you save your file as a "
How much does it cost?
It costs $1 to use the printer and an additional 5 cents per gram. So the heavier the object is, the more it will cost, though most prints are under $5.
Skills & Prerequisites
No skills are required but 3D modeling skills can help you make exactly what you want. Contact us to set up an appointment if you're interested in learning basic 3D modeling skills.
3D Printing is an amazing tool and can be used in more ways than you think. Check out
TLC Twitter page
to see what's new in the world of 3D Printing!
Important things to keep in mind
Unfortunately, the TLC is not able to design something for you, we can only print .stl files found online or made by you. You must be with the printer the whole time your object is printing. Prints can fail and having an eye on it is the only safe way to operate the equipment. This occasionally means that prints must be restarted. The larger and more dense the object is, the longer it will take to print. Some prints can take several hours, so be sure your time is flexible on the day of your appointment. You can
The TLC does not allow patrons to print weapons, simulacra of weapons, or parts of either of the aforementioned. Although we do our best to have the printers available on maker days -- Tuesdays and Thursdays -- it's best to call ahead and schedule an appointment, as the printers are fairly popular and frequently in use.
Contact the TLC
2.25" Button Maker
3D Printer: Makerbot Replicator 2X
3D Printer: Ultimaker 2
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