Free 3D Printing for FNSB Library Card Holders
3D printing is an exciting form of technology, limited only by your imagination and the size of the printer and now Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries offers this service FREE to library card holders.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of making a three-dimensional object from a digital file. Specialized printers melt filament and lay down tiny layer upon layer to create a 3D object.
Everything you need to know about 3D printing, starting with the very basics, can be found within this definitive guide. For a more thorough understanding of 3D printing, including tutorials like Designing a Replacement Part Using 3D Printing, use the FNSB Public Libraries subscription to Lynda.com, via our eMaterials page, please have your FNSB Library Card number and PIN to gain access.
Can you tell me more about the programs used to create 3D designs for printing?
Any 3D design or CAD software that exports to .stl format can be used to design your own 3D objects, but you can always go the easy route and download a pre-made file from sites like Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory, and Cults. If you would like to design your own 3D objects TinkerCAD is a great place to start.
TinkerCAD is great for beginners. It provides tutorials and lets you download .stl files for printing, best of all, it’s 100% free.
Is there more advanced software out there?
For those interested in more advanced design software there are plenty to choose from and some offer free versions.
- Autodesk Fusion 360 [fees apply]
- Blender [free]
- Onshape Free [free, paid subscriptions available]
- Sketchup Free [free, paid subscriptions available]
Can you tell us more about the Library’s 3D printer?
Our printer: Lulzbot Mini
Print size: 152mm x 152mm x 158mm (6”x6”x6.2”)
Colors: black, white, grey, light blue, orange, bright light green, reddish orange, yellow, royal blue, purple, copper, platinum, and gold.
- 3D printing is only available to those with a valid FNSB Public Libraries library card
- All files submitted must be in .stl format
- Maximum print size of the 3D object is 6” x 6” x 6.2”
- Objects will only be printed in a single color. You may specify a color preference or let us choose. If we run out of your first choice we will use your second preferred color.
- Only one print request per library card will be accepted every two weeks.
- Submissions will be reviewed by library staff for printability and appropriateness.
- Object design, printer demand, and staff availability, must be taken into account, therefore completion time for print jobs will vary. The Library cannot guarantee that a print will be ready on a specific day (please do not request a time sensitive print).
- You will be notified, by the contact information you provide, when your 3D object is available for pick up.
Printed items must be picked up within two weeks from the first notification. Items not picked up within two weeks become property of the Library.
How much does it cost?
3D printing is free at the FNSB Public Libraries for card holders!
What type of filament is used?
All printing at FNSB Public Libraries is done using PLA (Polylactic acid). PLA is the most commonly used filament because of its user-friendly and easy to print nature. It is compostable and is #7 recyclable. While tests conducted state PLA is “food safe” there are other possible contaminants such as bacteria buildup. Please keep this in mind when printing objects that may be used with food.
What can’t be printed?
- Any print job exceeding three hours. Due to limited resources and demand we will not print any job that will take over three hours.
- Weapons of any kind will not be printed.
- FNSB Public Libraries retains the right to refuse any print request for any reason.
Who can operate the printer?
Only library staff and trained volunteers are allowed hands-on access to the 3D printer. You can see the printer in action during one of our 3D printing programs.
When will my print be ready for pick up?
You will be contacted when your print is available for pick up, approximately two weeks after file submission.
Our Printer: Lulzbot Mini
Links From guides to software, here are some links to help you get started
If you have any questions regarding the 3D printer please contact:
Young Adult Librarian