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What is a 3D printer?
The library’s 3D printer creates small plastic objects one layer at a time with a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). Sending the printer a design pattern from a computer allows it to create various objects, including print-in-place models (that have functioning hinges and joints without assembly).
Who may use the library’s 3D printer?
Westchester Library System cardholders may submit requests and pick up a printed object from the library. Direct access to the 3D printer is limited to library staff at this time.
You (or your parent or guardian if under 18) will need to sign the library’s 3D printer agreement when you pick up your object. Please review the library’s 3D Printer Policy.
How do I submit a request to print out an object?
- Download a 3D model (.stl file) or create your own design
- Upload your .stl file on this webpage
- Pick up your object when it’s ready (the library will notify you)
Is there a charge to submit requests?
There is no charge to submit requests at this time.
How does the 3D printer work?
The Design Process
Use a CAD (computer aided design) app like Tinkercad or Blender to combine shapes into a 3D object and save your design as a .stl file.
Upload your .stl file on this web page and select a color. Next, the library uses special software to “slice” your design into very thin layers. The 3D printer is now ready to “print” the object by depositing melted plastic one layer at a time in a process called fused deposition modeling.
The Printing Process
The slicer app sends its instructions to the library’s 3D printer and the library prepares the printer by loading plastic into its extruder.
The 3D printer uses a special plastic (thermoplastic filament) that softens at high temperatures and hardens when cooled. The printer’s extruder pulls the plastic in and heats it until it is soft, at which point the extruder is ready to release the melted plastic through a nozzle.
We are finally ready to print. The extruder is suspended just above a flat platform (printing bed) leaving just enough space to print the first layer. The extruder moves around above the printing bed and releases plastic in the shape of the first layer. The extruder rises to leave space for the next layer, prints the next layer, and this process repeats until the object is completed.