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Prototyping Studio

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The Prototyping Studio is an advanced makerspace on the fourth floor of Newman Library. The space offers tools and equipment to work with 3D Printing, electronics, laser cutting, CNC, vacuum forming, clay modeling, sewing, and screen printing. The Studio will also offer a wide array of hand tools so you can make anything you dream of, and best of all, it is all free for the community.

Our website is a work in progress. Please be patient with us while we add and update the information on this page. If you have a question about the Studio that isn't answered here, send us an email at protostudio@vt.edu or stop by the Studio to ask a staff member. 

How to Submit 3D Printing Jobs

In order to submit items to be printed, please bring your 3D model files to the Prototyping Studio on a USB drive. Preferred object file formats are .stl and .obj. Patrons will be emailed when their object is completed and available for pick-up. Items may be retrieved from the pick-up location next to the door of the Prototyping Studio during our open hours. With this information in mind, here are the steps to getting your objects printed: 

  1. We will not accept any files attached to an email. Please bring us a file in these formats:
    • .3MF (preferred format)
    •  .STL
    • .OBJ
  2. The student worker in the lab with open your design in Simplify3D and inspect it to ensure that your design prints successfully.
  3. Once the student worker is satisfied that the design is ready for printing they will upload the design to our system. At this time we will enter the information provided by you in the survey, including your email to be used for notification when the print is complete.
  4. Once the print is complete, you will receive an email letting you know that your print is ready to be picked up. Your print will be available on a table located outside the door to the Studio. 

More info coming soon! Email protostudio@vt.edu if you have questions about this equipment.

More info coming soon! Email protostudio@vt.edu if you have questions about this equipment.

More info coming soon! Email protostudio@vt.edu if you have questions about this equipment.

Hand tools are available upon request. Stop by the Studio and ask one of our staff members what we have available and where the tools are stored. See the Available Equipment and Materials section below for a list of available hand tools.

Studio Policies

Patrons and users are responsible for the following:

  • Leave the room in good condition for the next patrons, including resetting the room and placing trash in trash bins.
  • Report any problems or issues with the space or equipment a Studio staff member immediately.
  • Don’t leave your personal property unattended, including library materials that have been checked out. The Library is not liable for loss/damage to personal property.

Personal Data and Information

  • Studios equipment is preloaded with available applications, and temporary storage space is available during your booking. Long-term storage is not guaranteed. We are not responsible for, nor can we recover, lost data.

General Policies

  • Equipment owned by the University Libraries should not be removed from the Studio without prior approval from management.
  • Studios are not intended to provide privacy. Library staff may enter the rooms as needed for security, maintenance, or other reasons.
  • Library Management reserves the right to resolve schedule problems by adjusting reservations or schedules.
  • Patrons must follow all directives from library staff, including orders to leave the building in the situation in which the library needs to close early.

Repeated violations of these policies could result in administrative action, including – but not limited to – deletion of reservations or removal of an individual’s ability to make Studios reservations.

Please note, Studios’ management does not guarantee the availability of all advertised hardware or software. Some advanced equipment may require consultation with the Studio manager before it will be made available.

3D Printing Rules and Policies

  • 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, the door to the 3D printers will remain closed when the Studio is not open. Do not ask library staff to let you into the back room when we are closed.
  • 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 1-2 weeks 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 resembles or can function as a weapon.
  • No email submissions. We will not accept files over email. 

Printers

Materials

  • PLA
  • PETG
  • Clear, white, grey, and black standard resin
  • Tough resin
  • Castable resin
  • Flexible resin
  • 24x18 inch cutting area
  • Up to 3/8th inch of wood 
  • Up to 3/8th inch of acrylic
  • Cork, fleece, leather (1/8th in), mat board, stamp rubber
  • Engraving only for:
    • Cotton, denim, glass, marble, plastics, anodized aluminum
  • 8x4 foot sheets of wood, high density foam, plastic
  • 8x8x3 inch cutting volume for wood, plastic, foam, aluminum block
  • 17x11 inch vacuum forming
  • ABS, HIPS, and PETG plastics
  • 300x220x180 mm build volume
  • 17-4 PH Stainless Steel
  • Copper
  • H13 Tool Steel
  • Inconel 625
  • A2 and D2 Tool Steel
  • Milling: 5.5x4.5 inch single or double sided boards
  • Printing: 3x4 inch single or double sided boards
  • Raspberry pi 3 kits
  • Arduino kits
  • USB breakout boards
  • Universal flash programmers
  • Soldering stations
  • Wiring kits
  • General electronics kits
    • Various circuitry components
    • Breadboards
    • Sensors
    • Switches
    • LEDs
    • Small motors and servos
  • Butcher paper and pencils
  • Foam carving tools
  • Clay sculpting tools
  • Wood chisels
  • Cold chisels
  • CAD stations
  • Dremels
  • Hand tools
  • Sanding supplies
  • Compressor powered tools
  • 3D Scanners
  • Digital camera and photo booth

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

  • SHAPEWAYS – Tutorials for 3D modeling in different software, creating models to be printed, and modeling basics.
  • Autodesk – Online YouTube tutorials made by the company. More video tutorials can be found by viewing Autodesk Education’s other YouTube videos. 

3D Design:

3D model repositories:

  • Thingiverse – A website with a library of pre-designed 3D printable models available for download.
  • GrabCAD – A website of free pre-made CAD files available for download.

Who can use the Studios? Does it cost anything?

Our services and spaces are available for everyone at no cost. For 3D printing, there is a 2,000 grams cap on how much material you can print each semester for personal projects. Academic printing is unlimited. 

How do I get something 3D scanned?

Make an appointment through this website.

Can I 3D scan myself or another person?

Yes, we can scan human subjects but there are safety considerations. It is not recommended for people with light sensitivities, epilepsy, or similar conditions. The subject needs to be still for long periods of time and might need to stand for long periods of time. It can take multiple hours to complete these scans so please plan accordingly. 

If you have other questions about 3D scanning human subjects, please schedule a consultation with the Studio manager or visit the 3D Scanning Studio webpage

How do I submit something to be 3D printed, laser cut, or manufactured on another machine?

Bring a file of your model, design, or project on a USB drive to the studio. If you don't have a USB drive we have some you can borrow. The student worker will load your file into our queue, ask you some questions about your project, and prepare it for manufacturing. 

We do not accept file submissions online, remotely, or through email.

What is the largest size model I can print?

Our largest FDM print bed is about 11.5 x 11.5 x 10.5 inches. Our standard FDM print volume is about 9 x 8 x 8 inches. The resin printer’s build volume is 145 × 145 × 175 mm. 

How many prints can I submit at once?

You can submit one file at a time. If you have multiple models that you want printed at once, combine them into one file before submitting. Be aware of scales and sizes of models combined into one file. We can't 3D print anything that needs over 500 grams of material at one time. 

How long does it take to print at the studio?

Depending on demand, you can expect to pick up your print between 1-3 days after submitting. When we’re busy you can expect about 1-2 weeks. Please note that these estimates are flexible and not guaranteed. 

For actual print time - which starts once your model is loaded onto a printer - it takes about 1-14 hours, depending on the size and design of the model.

Can I use the printers on my own?

Due to safety and security concerns, only Studios staff can operate the printers, laser cutters, and other manufacturing machines.

Is my project or print ready to be picked up yet?

Please stop by the Studio to ask in person about the status of your project if it's taking longer than expected to finish it. You receive an automated email when your project is completed and ready to be picked up. 

Where can I learn 3D modeling and printing?

There are loads of tutorials and accessible software out there for 3D design. Check the Prototyping Studio website for a list to get started. 

The Studios offer workshops on a variety of topics and technologies. Visit calendar.lib.vt.edu/events to find and register for upcoming workshops.

Are there other spaces on campus that have 3D printers?

Yes, here is a list of makerspaces on campus (link). Some may not have 3D printers, some may restrict access to a certain group of people, and others may have costs attached to their services.

If you have other inquiries that aren't included in this list, email us at protostudio@vt.edu or schedule a consultation through this link. Look for a topic that you feel is relevant to your question or project, then pick a date and time for your appointment. If you're not sure what topic makes the most sense for you, choose "Maker Skills."

Wayfinding icon for Prototyping Studio

Open Hours 

The Studio closes for most breaks, holidays, and official university closings. Visit the University Libraries hours page for info on closures and open hours updates.

Spring Break 2024 Hours

Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm

Spring Semester 2024 Hours

Monday - Thursday: 10am - 9pm

Friday: 10am - 6pm

Saturday: 12pm - 6pm

Sunday: 12pm -6pm  

Workshops

The Studios Network offers many free workshops on various technologies, including 3D modeling and printing. See our list of upcoming workshops for information on how to register.

Contact

Email protostudio@vt.edu or stop by Newman Library, Suite 430

Need Help?

We offer consultations on topics like 3D design, printing, electronics, CNC, and more. Visit our consultations page to see what topics we cover and request a time to speak with someone.

Student Jobs

Open positions for student employment in the Studios Network are listed on Handshake.com.  If you are interested in working in one or more of the studios and have questions,  please reach out to librarystudios@vt.edu for more information on current opportunities.