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3D Printing

Request a 3D Print Job!

What is 3D Printing?

A process of creating physical three dimensional objects from digital files or models. Additive processing is used, in which successive layers of filament is laid down in thin layers until the entire model is complete.

What services are available at Bierce Library?

Currently, Bierce Library has a MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation 3D Printer. The 3D printer uses 1.74 mm Polyactic Acid (PLA) fileament. PLA is a bioplastic made from renewable resources. Current colors available are listed to the left.

We also have a MakerBot Digitizer 3D desktop scanner and a Sense 3D Handheld Scanner. The Digitizer can turn every day objects into 3D models. Scans objects up to 8 x 8 in size on an accurate and easy-to-use platform; ideal for creating new objects or revising items. The Sense Handheld scanner can scan large objects and create models for printing, such as people, chairs, and desk.

Who can print?

The 3D printer is available for use by all University of Akron students, faculty, and staff. Printing is done on a first-come first-served basis taking into account that students who are printing design projects or class projects get top priority.

  • Personal Prints: Limited to 10 prints or 30 print-hours per person, per semester.
  • Academic Prints: Includes class assignments, design projects and active research projects. Academic jobs are not limited, but are subject to review by University Libraries staff.
    • All submissions must be submitted 3-5 business days before due-date.
    • All submission must provide course or organization name and the instructor or faculty advisor associated with the project.
    • Glow in the Dark NOT available for Academic prints.
  • File Format: we can only print .stl, .obj, or .thing files
  • 1 request at a time. Please wait until you’ve picked up your finished print before submitting a new request.

Cost of 3D printing

Bierce Library provides this service for all University of Akron's current students, faculty, and staff for FREE.

What do I need to know about creating models?

File Format: To print a model on the MakerBot 5th Gen, it must be exported as one of the following formats .stl, .obj, or .thing files. Most programs and object repositories can save or export in these formats.

Dimensions: The 3D model must fit within the build platform of the MakerBot 5th Gen, which is 25.2 x 19.9 x 15.0 cm (9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 in)

Design your model for printing

The first step is to design a 3D object using a computer-aided design software program. Examples and links are provided under the "3D Design Software" tab. Secondly, users will need to submit the files in a .stl, .obj or .thing format in order for the MakerBot 5th Gen printer to read the files. If you prefer to not design your own 3D object, there are sources available to find already designed objects ready for printing. Sources can be found under the "Browse 3D Objects" tab.

How long will it take to print?

The length of time for printing varies on the size and infill of your object. An intricate, highly detailed piece will take longer, while small uniform prints will take less time.

For example, if your object is small and has an infill of 10% it could take 30 minutes to an hour to print. If your object is large, 100% infill, and has multiple elements it could take up to 12+ hours to print.

*All of our objects are printed with 10% infill unless requested otherwise.


If you would like to meet with a library staff member for additional information about 3D printing or if you have questions, please email

More Information

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