What is a 3D Printer?
A 3D printer creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials layer by layer. 3D objects can range greatly. Essentially, if you can think of it and create a 3D model of the item—or find one pre-made on an open-source website/purchase a 3D model file—then it can be 3D printed. Toys, home décor, functional items, fandom items, and more can be printed.
What do you need to print a 3D object?
Part 1: 3D File
In addition to a 3D printer, you will need a 3D modeling file. Websites such as Thingiverse and 3Dupndown are examples of open-source websites where you can obtain such files. Basically, these open-source websites allow users to post designs they have created through 3D modeling software and allow others to print their designs. There are also websites that will custom-make 3D models at cost, such as Cults 3D, Pinshape, and Etsy.
There a many different 3D modeling software programs (some free and others at cost), but two of the most well-known are AutoCad and Sketchup. Using these programs, you can create a 3D image for printing.
Once you have a digital file—typically a .stl, .obj, .x3d, or .3mf—it gets loaded into the 3D printer’s software, settings are applied (such as the thickness of the walls, what type of material it will be printed with, et cetera.), and then the item can be printed.
Part 2: Filament
Just like a regular printer that needs ink, a 3D printer needs filament. Filaments are actually thermoplastics, which are plastics that melt rather than burn when heated and can then be shaped and solidified when cooled. Filament typically comes in 1 KG reels and is similar to a skein of thread in that the plastic is a thin tube that is wound around the reel. The filament is then loaded into the printer’s extruder nozzle which gets heated to the correct temperature, making the filament pliable so that it can be extruded to create the thin layers which make up the 3D object.
There are many different types of filament, including wood (essentially, plastic with sawdust mixed in), metallic, magnetic, glow-in-the-dark, flexible, et cetera. The most commonly used filaments are typically PLA (Polylactic acid) and PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol). These are more standard plastic filaments that can be easily used. PVA (Polyvinyl acetate) filament is water-soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water over time. This can be useful when printing a complicated support structure for a 3D print; the support can be dissolved rather than having to be cut away upon completion. Read instructions on how to dissolve PVA filament.
Print Specifics for the Oak Creek Public Library:
You can see the 3D printer in action (whenever items are being printed) at the 2nd floor Service Desk.
How much does it cost to get something printed?
Residents of the city of Oak Creek with a valid library card and under $10.01 in fines may request one print job, under 100 grams total weight (including supports/multiple pieces), per month at no cost. Non-residents, and residents who request additional 3D prints or request a print job over 100 grams, must pay for the 3D print at the price of $0.05 per gram. Optionally, we offer supports in PVA filament (which is dissolvable in water) at a cost of $0.10 per gram. This PVA filament cost would apply to all print jobs, whether you are an Oak Creek patron printing your one free print job per month or otherwise.
What color/filament can I have it printed in?
Print jobs are typically printed in one color. However, if you have a print that is multiple pieces then each piece could be a different color. Alternatively, if the 3D model is designed for dual-extrusion (meaning that it prints with 2 nozzles that each contain a different filament) then the 3D model can be printed in 2 different colors/filaments.
The colors/filaments currently available are:
Black (PETG), Blue (translucent, PETG), Brown (PETG), Clear (translucent – PETG), Clear (translucent – PVA, available for supports only), Copper (pearl, sparkle – PETG), Green (glow – PETG), Orange (PETG), Orange (glow – PETG), Pink (PLA), Purple (PLA), Red (PLA), Silver (PLA), White (PETG), Yellow (PETG).*
*Filament color may vary depending on current supplier.
How long will it take to print?
Depending on the size of the 3D object (typically measured in millimeters), printing time can vary greatly. For a smaller object such as a ring, it can take approximately 20 minutes. For larger objects such as a vase, it can take upwards of 15 hours. The library’s 3D printer has a maximum print area of 330 mm x 240 mm x 300 mm (13 in x 9.4 in x 11.8 in).
Library staff is unable to give a firm date and time as to when the print job will be completed but will make every effort to complete the print job within 2 weeks of submission.
Can I submit a custom print job?
Yes, however we can only accept .stl, .obj, .x3d, or .3mf file types. The file must be from an open-source website (in other words, a file that you have permission to use), a file you purchased, or a file that you created yourself. Once you fill out the 3D Printer Request Form, you will need to supply a link to the website or email the library with the files at [email protected]. Limited editing will be provided by Library staff at their discretion in order to format custom print files for functionality with the printer. Beyond that, patrons are responsible for editing their own print files and may need to submit a new file if the original cannot be readily processed by staff.
Oak Creek’s 3D Printing Library
Using open-source websites, the Oak Creek Library has selected several items to showcase the true variety of items available for printing. Patrons can request any of these items to be printed in any color, but if the item is over 100 grams, if a resident of Oak Creek has already used their free print job or owes over $10.01 in fines, or if they are a non-resident of Oak Creek, the cost of printing will be $0.05 per gram.
All of the images below are photographed to show the dimensions in inches for width and height. Filament color may vary depending on current supplier.
Ear protectors are meant to be worn to alleviate pressure/wear of face mask straps behind the ears. Masks are NOT included with ear protectors.
Face shields are meant to be worn as an additional precaution to be used with a face mask. Clear binder sheets are shown in the example below.
Jewelry & Keychains