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3D Printing at the UF Libraries: 3D Printing Tips

You can now print out an object in 3D at Marston Science Library, Education Library, or Health Science Center Library.

How much will it cost?

Pricing is based on the material used: $.15/gram with a minimum charge of $3.00.  We calculate the cost before running your job.  

The maximum build size is 12"x12"x12".  Several small pieces can be batch printed.  Consider printing a larger job in several pieces and gluing them together.

Setting options

We will be happy to discuss options for obtaining your preferred result, balancing cost, time, and quality for each job you print.  Options include:

Raft.Required for all jobs. Otherwise, spaghetti happens! (below left)

oops, no raft object infill

Supports.  May be necessary or recommended to support overgrowth.  Extruding material onto thin air will result in a fail!

Infill. The infill rate inside an object can be altered.  Consider strength, flexibility, and cost when changing the default. (above right)

Resolution.  Low res jobs print fastest but with the least detail.  High res jobs may take twice as long as low or standard res, and they may be much more delicate.

Tips for 3D Printing

filament   alligators
  1. Open your .stl or .thing file in Makerbot Desktop, Makerbot's free printer software, to get an estimate for how much material and time your model will need to print.  Also get an estimate in the library.
  2. Unless your model has a large base, you should use a raft to help the model adhere to the build plate while printing.  
  3. If your model is very large or has delicate/pointy edges, consider including helper disks on the corners of the model to avoid curl up on the edges.
  4. Models can be bundled to save time and share a raft; however if one model fails, the entire print job will need to be stopped.
  5. Consider printing a smaller version or at low resolution if you are testing a draft of your model.

Post-printing FAQ

Q.  How can I color my object?

A.  Nail polish is cheap, available in a wide range of colors and textures, and each color has its own brush!  Acrylic and model paints should work.

Q. What glue should I use to combine or repair parts?

A. Recommendations include model airplane cement and "good quality" superglue.   Loctite and Krazyglue have product comparison charts.

Q. Are pieces waterproof?  How can I protect the surface?

A. Some printed pieces seem to be waterproof and some don't.  Use a waterproofing agent if needed. Consider using XTC-3D (an epoxy coating) for smoothing and finishing.

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