Home 3D Printing Services

3D Printing Services

Two of the printers here at the lab, a Replicator 2 and a PrusaMk2

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.

If this is your first time 3D printing with NDSU Libraries, we highly recommend coming to the 3D printing desk in the Main Library during open hours. If you have any questions, please email us at ndsu.library.3dprint@ndsu.edu.

New to 3D printing?

Upload a File

3d Printing is closed for the Summer.

3D Printing follows the same calendar as the main campus and offices are closed on the same observed days. For a full list of dates and holiday observances, visit the Office of Registration and Records website.  

Official Dates and Deadlines

Next semester hours will be announced the last month of the current semester. Times are subject to change.


Contact Information


Phone: 701-231-5565

Location: Main Library 121

Email: ndsu.library.3dprint@ndsu.edu

Print Cost


The cost to 3D print is $0.25 per gram, with a minimum of $5 per job submitted. An estimate will be given for approval prior to starting the job, but may not reflect the final charge. 

New process! Please read the following carefully.

All Customers: 

  1. Click on "Upload a File"
  2. Fill out all the fields on the submission form and attach your object (*.stl, *.obj, or *.stp are accepted)
  3. Check the box indicating that you acknowledge and agree to the service terms of the online submission
  4. 3D Printing library staff will review your object; if it is unprintable we will reach out
  5. An email will be sent out with an estimated cost
  6. Approve/Deny our estimate
  7. If you approve, staff will print your object when a printer is availalbe
  8. When your print is completed, you will receive an email with the final cost
  9. Pick up your printed objects from the Main Library Checkout Desk, you must present your Bison ID and payment to pickup your object. We accept cash, check, and credit/debit cards
We highly recommend that if it is your first time printing with the Library to visit us at the 3D printing desk during open hours.


Resolution refers to the height of the layers in your print. The higher the resolution, the thinner the filament layers. Prints made with thinner layers will create more detailed prints with a smoother surface where it is difficult to see the individual filament layers. The thinner the filament layers, the more time it takes to print (and increased cost) since there will be more layers that make up your object. If you are printing something without a lot of detail or where detail is not necessary, thicker filament layers will get you a faster print (thus costing less) but the surface will be rougher and the individual filament layers more visible. Our printers have the capability to print in three levels of resolution: low, standard, and high. Users have the option to select their preferred level of resolution. The default is to print at standard resolution.






Macro view at 50, 200, and 300 microns from left to right.



Infill refers to the density of filament inside your print. For example an infill of 10%, would be 10% filament and 90% air. 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 increase the printing cost. Our staff will review your object and recommend the appropriate infill density, generally this is between 10% and 20%. 




Rectilinear infill patterns ranging from 10% to 100%



Shells refer to the number of times the outer walls of your object are traced with filament before starting the infill. This defines the thickness of the side walls and is one of the biggest factors in the strength of your finished print. If you need a finished print that is more durable, an increase in the shells will help to achieve this. Our staff will review your object and recommend the appropriate shell thickness.



Rafts are a thin layer of filament printed at the base of the print and act as a platform that can help the object stick to the build plate and maintain the integrity of the shape while printing. Rafts can be useful when printing objects with small parts at the bottom, helping to anchor the object to the build plate. Rafts can be removed from the object once the print is completed. 


Supports are scaffolding that help to hold up objects that don't have enough base material to build off of as they are printing. 3D printing works by printing layers on top of each other. If your print includes parts that extend past a 45 degree angle, there will be nothing on which to build the layer. These parts are called overhangs and can create a dropping effect without the use of supports. Our software will automatically add supports to overhangs on your object if it is necessary. These supports can easily be removed from the object once the print is completed. A file will remove any marks left on the finished object. 


The printers range in size and capabilities. Upon submitting your file, our staff will select the appropriate machine to complete your job. Below is what we have in our lab:


3D Printers



       Brand: Makerbot

       Model: Replicator 2

       Quantity: x4

       Build Volume: 11.2 x 6 x 6.1 in. (285 x 153 x 155 mm). 

       Additional Accessories: None


CC Image courtesy of Creative Tools on Flickr




       Brand: Lulzbot

       Model: TAZ6

       Quantity: x2

       Build Volume: 11 x 11 x 9.8 in (280 x 280 x 250 mm).

       Additional Accessories: Dual Extruder





Brand: Prusa Research

Model: i3 MK2 

Quantity: x2

Build Volume: 9.84 x 8.3 x 8 in. (250 x 210 x 200 mm).

Additional Accessories: None




Brand: Monoprice

Model: Makerselect Mini v1

Quantity: x1

Build Volume: 4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7 in. (120 x 120 x 120 mm).

Additional Accessories: None



3D Scanners



       Brand: 3D Systems

       Model: Sense 3D

       Quantity: x1

       View Window: 8in x 8in x 8in to 6.5ft x 6.5ft x 6.5ft. 

       Additional Accessories: None







       Brand/Model: Matter and Form

       Quantity: x1

       View Window: 9.8 inches in height, 7.0 inches in diameter, and 6.6 lbs in weight. 

       Additional Accessories: None






3D Pens



       We have six 3Doodler Create pen kits available

       Each kit includes:

  • 3Doodler Create pen
  • power adapter
  • quick start guide
  • plastic/filament (PLA, ABS, and Flexy)
  • nozzle set
  • doodle pad
  • project book





We are currently carrying PLA and nGen materials, as well as some Pro-PLA.

  • Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a plant-based bioplastic derived from corn (US) or sugarcane (rest of world). PLA is a very stiff but brittle plastic and does not withstand high temperatures or long-term humidity. PLA is compostable on the industrial scale and is currently being used for every-day products such as sports areana beverage cups, yogurt cups, as well as some baby products.
    • Technical data can be found here: Link
  • nGen is a co-polyester made from Eastman Amphora AM3300 polymer. nGen has a high temperature tolerance and is durable.
    • Technical data can be found here: Link
  • Pro-PLA is an advanced form of PLA which provides higher impact strength over ABS, as well as rivalling ABS's heat resistance. Pro-PLA can be post-annealed which will give it it's higher heat resistance.
    • Technical data can be found here: Link


3D printing is an additive manufacturing process in which a three-dimensional object is built by laying down successive layers of thin material.



There are many different types of filaments available on the market today and our 3D lab is always changing what is brought in. Please reference our equipment list to view what types of plastics work with our 3D printers as well as what plastics are typically carried. To view what we currently have available to print, please visit our 3D printing lab in the library.

There are collections of 3D models available online where you can download .stl, .obj. or .thing files created by others. Some examples are:

Take note that some of these objects may be 3D files, but are not suitable for 3D printing. Contact us with any questions. 

Sorry, at this time 3D printing services are restricted to NDSU affiliates. For alternative 3D printing services, try Fargo 3D printing, 3DHubs, or Shapeways.

Color availability will change as we restock filament. Check with 3D printing staff to see what we have at the moment.

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:

  • in violation of NDSU policies.
  • 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.

We reserve the right to deny any print job. 

Yes, we’d be happy to work with you to schedule a class workshop or collaborate on an assignment. Contact us at ndsu.library.3dprint@ndsu.edu.

Please see our workshops tab to see when the next workshops are taking place.

AutoCAD and SketchUp are available on NDSU's cluster computers. For help with AutoCAD or SketchUp, contact the TLMC.


There are several online resources that are free of charge: 

  • Tinkercad is an easy to use, browser-based 3D design and modeling software. The website features numerous tutorials and tips on how to use this tool.
  • 3DTin is accessed through Chrome and Firefox browsers and features an easy to use interface including a library of templates you can add to your design. 
  • Blender is an open source software that can be downloaded to your desktop. It features and interface similar to more advanced software and can be used for creating 3D images as well as 3D models. This software is one of the most advanced with a steep learning curve.
  • Autodesk Inventor is a more technical-based design software that is used in many different engineering and manufacturing disciplines. It can be downloaded to your desktop. It features robust design tools for solid models which can translate to ProE, Creo, Solidworks, and most other modeling software file types. A free account can be created with any *.edu email address and be accessed up to 3-yrs per license.
  • OpenSCAD is the 'Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller' and is a free dowload to your desktop. It is available for Linux/UNIX, Windows, and Mac. This modeling software is more geared towards designing mechanical parts whereas programs such as Blener or 3DSMax are more geared towards artistic/free-flowing modeling.
  • Autodesk Fusion360 is a friendlier version of Autodesk Inventor and features more simplisitic visual tool commands while maintaining the power of Inventor. This is a download to the desktop and is free to both studetns and startup companies which meet their T&C's.
  • SculptGL is a digital sculpting web app, with sources available on github and chrome webstore. Use this to create organic or sculpted parts, then export to *.obj or *.stl for printing or importing into other softwares.
NDSU Libraries does provide instruction on any 3D modeling software. Please see our Workshops tab to see when the next workshop on your modeling software will be taught. 


Workshops are interactive sessions where students, staff, and/or faculty, learn about different aspects of 3D printing & design. Below are a few dates and times when workshops will be taking place. If you are interested in attending one, simply click on the date under the workshop title to reserve your spot:

Class Instruction

The 3D printing lab would be would be happy to work with faculty or staff on a class workshop or collaboration on an assignment! These can be hands-on demonstrations or presentation style instruction. Some examples are:

  • "What is 3D Printing and how is it used in ....." - Presentation
  • "Using 3D Prints to Print out Project Prototype(s)" - Hands-on
  • "Using 3D Printers to Print out Reference Materials in ......" - Hands-on

Coming soon!

Last updated: 5/8/2018