DIgital Fabrication Lab

3D Printers



Original Prusa i3 Mk3 3D Printers

  • The maximum build chamber for models to be made on the machine is (safe put 1cm margin):
  • x-axis - 250mm (9.84 inches)  |  y-axis - 210mm (8.3 inches)  |  210mm (8.3 inches)

Plastic 3D Printers

The Digital Fabrication Lab currently has ten 3D plastic printers available for use. However, in order to print you need to schedule an orientation with the Lab Manager or Staff to learn how the plastic printers work. Because this is time consuming, and many students wait till the last minute, note that this orientation must occur two weeks or more in advance of mid and final reviews. To set up an appointment, contact the Lab Manager or Staff via email or see them during his posted office hours. Come to that orientation prepared with a file of a digital model so it can be reviewed and used for the print.

3D Print File Preparations

All 3D prints are scheduled through the Lab Manager or Staff. Prep your final 3D print files and then setup a review appointment to process the file, which may take 15-25 minutes. The job is put into the print queue and, unless otherwise instructed, your model will be removed by staff and waiting for you to pickup when it is finished. There is NO GUARANTEE that all items will print successfully even if the review indicates it might; this printing is a process subject to mechanical, heating, weather and other conditions outside of Staff's control. Models may require several iterations in order to obtain desired results, OR may be deemed "unprintable".

File Review 

Poorly prepared files will cause delays in processing, and failures in the software used to convert files to machine code.  If you have any questions regarding your model and proper processing speak with DFL staff. The following are general guidelines for file preparation:

  • Make sure that print job is a single object and is a “closed” or “solid” object/mesh/polysurface.
  • Avoid multiple “intersecting” closed objects.
  • Check that all surfaces are facing outward. (Rhino: “dir” command arrows point outward, “flip” if necessary).
  • Be sure that the object is oriented with a flat surface on the Z plane - not “floating in space”.
  • For thin walls make sure that they are at a minimum of 1.6mm in thickness, 2mm is preferred.
  • At file review, bring both the original file and the .stl (stereolithography) in a folder for ease of copying to the DFL 3D user database.
  • Avoid overhangs that are greater than 45° or plan to use support material, which can increase print time and/or cost.
  • Use inches or millimeters as the units of measurement to ensure proper scale.
  • Keep finished size 5” (127.0mm) and under will diversify the number of machines available to print the model and to reduce print time and/or cost.
  • Breaking up larger models into parts that can be easily printed and reassembled is highly recommended, and may sometimes be required.

Required for file processing:

  • You will be expected to provide the final finished dimensions of the model.  (Rhino: Use “bounding box” to determine those dimensions).
  • Files intended for printing must be saved in the .STL (Stereolithography) format, but please have your original design file available for review.
  • For multiple items, export each one as a separate .STL file, unless otherwise instructed.

General Queue info:

  • Do not expect to have your file processed if you are not present.
  • All files are processed first-come-first-serve, however, DFL staff may intersperse prints depending on demand.
  • Any models with print times of 6 hours or greater will run “overnight” in the order in which they are processed.
  • DFL uses Papercut to process payment for use of 3D printing plastic material.
  • DFL uses PLA (Polylactic Acid) a corn based biodegradable plastic.

Despite best efforts there are no guarantees that all items will print succesfully, especially the first time. Models may require several iterations in order to obtain desired results or may be deemed "unprintable" by our equipment. Remember that toward the end of a semester many people are using the printers and they are working 24/7 so misprints are to be expected.