3D Printing Service

The NDSU Libraries provide 3D printing as a drop-off service at the Main Library for NDSU students, staff, and faculty. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process in which a three-dimensional object is built by laying down successive layers of thin material.
3d printer

Contact Information

Phone: 231-5565
Location: Main Library 118B
Email: ndsu.library.3dprint@ndsu.edu

Hours

Monday through Thursday 10am-7pm
Friday 10am-5pm
Weekends, breaks, and university holidays Closed

Cost

Price: $3/hour ($0.05/minute), minimum charge $3 for individuals and $5 for departments.

Drop-off Procedure

  1. Bring your file (in .stl, .obj. or .thing format) to the 3D Printing desk, located on the 1st floor of the Main Library, near the reference area in room 118B.
  2. 3D Printing library staff will review your file and prepare it for printing. Staff will fill out an order form, and provide you with the estimated cost of your print.
  3. Staff will print your object when a printer is available.
  4. When your print is completed, you will receive an email with the final cost of the print.
  5. Pick up your printed object from the Main Library Circulation Desk. You must present your Bison ID and payment to pick up your print. We accept cash, check, Bison Bucks, and credit/debit cards.

Printing Options

Rafts

To improve the quality of prints, our software will automatically add a raft to your printed object if it is necessary. Rafts are a thin layer of PLA plastic that is printed at the base of the print that help the object stick to the build platform and maintain the integrity of the shape while printing. Rafts can be removed from the object once the print is completed. Pliers and other tools are available at the circulation desk for you to remove rafts.

Supports

To improve the quality of prints, our software will automatically add a supporting framework of PLA plastic to areas of overhang on your object if it is necessary. These supports can easily be removed from the object once the print is completed. Pliers and other tools are available at the circulation desk for you to remove supports.

Resolution

Printing resolution refers to the thickness of the printed layers. Our printers have the capability to print in three levels of resolution: low, standard, and high. Higher resolution prints have thinner layers, allowing the object to have more defined features. Because of this, higher resolution prints will take longer to print and have a higher cost. Users have the option to select their preferred level of resolution. The default is to print at standard resolution.

Infill

To improve the strength of printed objects, our software adds an infill of hexagonal material inside hollow parts of an object. By default we use an infill of 10%. If you need to make your object stronger or more solid, you may want to increase the infill percentage. Increasing the infill percentage will lengthen the printing time and the printing cost.

Our Technology

We have four MakerBot Replicator 2 printers, which are consumer-level 3D printers. Our printing material is PLA (polylactic acid) bioplastic. The MakerBot prints supports and rafts in same material as model. The maximum build size is 11.2 x 6 x 6.1 in. (285 x 153 x 155 mm).

Visit MakerBot.com for more information.

Find or Make a 3D Model

Software on NDSU Cluster Computers

AutoCAD and Sketch-Up 3D (Pending) are available on NDSU's cluster computers. For help with AutoCAD and SketchUp, contact the TLMC.

Free Modeling Software

Blender

Blender is a 3D animation suite. Use the 3D printing toolbox extension to make models for printing. Tutorials are available at blender.org.

OpenSCAD

Use OpenSCAD for creating solid 3D CAD models

Sketch-Up

Sketch-up is free for educational use, but requires registration. Tutorials are available at sketchup.com

For more design software, check out the list from 3ders.org.

Model Checking Software

Model checking software is used to clean up mistakes in your model, like holes or unnecessary lines.

Microsoft Model Repair Service

This software is free, but requires registration. Use it to repair STL, OBJ, or 3MF files.

Netfabb Basic

The free version provides mesh edit, repair and analysis.

Download Free 3D Models

Thingiverse
3D Warehouse
Smithsonian X 3D

Policies

The NDSU Libraries' 3D printers may be used only for lawful purposes. No one will be permitted to use the Libraries' 3D printers to create material that is:

  • prohibited by local, state or federal law.
  • unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. (Such use may violate the terms of use of the manufacturer.)
  • in violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printer will not be used to reproduce material subject to copyright, patent, or trademark protection.

See NDSU's copyright policy for more information.

Library staff reserves the right to refuse any print jobs.