3D Design Studio
The 3D Design Studio provides free 3D printing, workshops, and 3D design & printer consultation for all library patrons. Whether you’re a total beginner working on an academic pursuit or a 3D pro looking to prototype and iterate, we are happy to help you bring your ideas to life. Our service is open to all patrons of the University Libraries, regardless of skill level or field of study. We make 3D printing work for you.
The 3D Design Studio strikes a balance between a completely open studio and a “3D print farm,” erring on the side of open studio. As a studio patron, your experience is an essential element in the printing process. With this in mind, here is our submission and printing process:
- Come to the studio in person with your file on either a USB drive or other portable media. Please bring the file in one of the following formats:
- The student worker in the lab with open your design in Simplify3D and inspect it to ensure that your design prints successfully.
- Once the student worker and patron are satisfied that the design is ready for printing the student worker will upload the design to our system. At this time we will gather the patron’s email address to be used for notification when the print is complete.
- Once the print is complete, the patron receives an email letting them know they can come pick their print up.
- Free Printing! Class and academic projects will observe unlimited printing. Personal projects may incur restrictions-contact us for details.
- Staff operates all machines and equipment. For your own safety, refrain from touching the computers and equipment in the studio.
- Prints should be under 500 grams in material volume. Prints over 500 grams will need to be scaled down or broken into parts. If your print has to be 500 grams or larger, you must request permission from the manager.
- Please allow a week lead time for completing your print. The Studio strives to accommodate all patrons of the University, which may lead to delays. We provide an estimate of how long it might take to print your model but that estimate is subject to change.
- Color requests are not guaranteed. If you have a color preference for your finished print, please indicate your preference to us when you submit a file. We cannot guarantee that your print will be the color you prefer.
- One print at a time. You can submit combined models in one file in at a time, as long as the combined objects fit within the constraints of our print beds.
- No Weapons! The Studio will not print anything that can function as a weapon.
- No email submissions. Bring your file into the studio on a USB.
3D printing can be intimidating, so here are some resources that represent a wide range of helpful software to 3D printers of all skill levels.
Introductions to 3D printing:
- 3D Printing for Beginners – General 3D printing information
- SHAPEWAYS – Tutorials for 3D modeling in different software, creating models to be printed, and modeling basics.
- Lynda (Virginia Tech access) – Online tutorials available for a variety of software and modeling. Access is free for VT faculty, staff, and students.
- Autodesk – Online YouTube tutorials made by the company. More video tutorials can be found by viewing Autodesk Education’s other YouTube videos.
- Tinkercad by Autodesk – A free web-based 3D digital modeling tool that allows you to create shapes and models. It also allows you to import vector shapes and extrude them into 3D models.
- Sketchup Make – A free 3D modeling software that you easily extrude custom shapes and designs.