3D Printing

3D Printing Service

The Makerspace@Kenan Science Library offers a free 3D printing service to UNC-Chapel Hill affiliates. To have us print a 3D file for you on any of our available 3D printers, email us to schedule an in-person appointment: kenanmakerspace@unc.edu.

Schedule an in-person appointment:
Contact Makerspace

Read our Policies and FAQ below for more information.

If you would prefer to operate a 3D printer yourself, visit any of our 3 BeAM partner locations.

Lulzbot Mini Printer

LulzBot Mini

Build Volume: 6x6x6.2 in


Form 2 3D printer

FormLabs Form 2

Build Volume: 5.7×5.7×6.9 in


uPrint SE plus printer

uPrint SE Plus

Build Volume: 8x8x6 in


Ultimaker 3 3D printer

Ultimaker 3

Build Volume: 8.5×8.5×7.9 in


TAZ 6 printer

LulzBot TAZ 6

Build Volume: 11x11x9.8 in


Looking for Help?

Consultations

Contact our knowledgeable staff for 3D modeling assistance. Any level of experience welcome.

Email us for an appointment: kenanmakerspace@unc.edu Contact Makerspace

Workshops

Beginners can learn the basics of 3D printing and Tinkercad in our regular 3D Design & Printing workshop series.

View 3D design workshops ›

Video Tutorials

Watch 3D imaging video tutorials for free using your Onyen login on LinkedIn Learning.

View LinkedIn Learning tutorials ›

3D Modeling

Software is also available at the Kenan Science Library to design your own 3D model or browse our recommended 3D model repositories below.

Design Your Own 3D Model

Tinkercad

An easy-to-use web-based tool for creating objects that are ready to be 3D printed. If you haven’t done 3D design before, this is a great place to start.
software difficulty level 1  Easy

Fusion 360

A next-step-up from Tinkercad, Fusion 360 lets you develop more complex models

MeshMixer

An experimental 3D modeling tool whose goal it is to make it easy to compose new 3D models from existing meshes.

NetFabb

An .STL viewer and repair tool.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS is an engineering grade computer-aided design (CAD) software with built in stress testing and simulation.

Browse Existing 3D Models

Thingiverse

A repository of 3D files from hundreds of users.

MorphoSource

Allows researchers to store and organize, share, and distribute their own 3d data.

NIH 3D Print Exchange

Allows for searching, browsing, downloading, and sharing biomedical 3D print files, modeling tutorials, and educational material.

NASA 3D Resources

A growing collection of 3D models, textures, and images from inside NASA.

Smithsonian x 3D

A project to share 3D models developed from scans of their diverse collections.

 

3D Printing FAQ

Is there a cost to use the 3D printer?

There is currently no cost for 3D printing. Student 3D printing is funded by a grant from the Student Library Advisory Board.

What materials can you print with?

Our 3D printers use PLA (a cornstarch-based plastic), ABS (like LEGO bricks), or resin. Set up a consultation with us to learn more about the properties of these materials. This chart shows the compatibility of several plastics with various materials.

What are the maximum dimensions in which the 3D printers can print?

FormLabs Form 2 has a build volume of 5.7 x 5.7 x 6.9 in.
The Lulzbot TAZ 6 has a build volume of 11 x 11 x 9.8 in.
The Lulzbot Mini has a build volume of 6 x 6 x 6.2 in.
The Ultimaker 3 has a build volume of 8.5 x 8.5 x 7.9 in.
The uPrint SE Plus has a build volume of 8 x 8 x 6 in.

How detailed can the 3D printer get?

Our 3D printers can produce layers down to 100 microns (0.0039 in.), but can lose accuracy on larger models.

How long does it take to print an item?

Build times vary depending upon several factors: size, intricacy, amount of support material required, and the number of print requests in the queue. Once your request begins printing, build times typically range from 2 hours to 48 hours each. Print jobs using the soluble supports must be soaked for roughly 24 hours to remove support material. Once the model has been completed, you will be notified via email that it is available for pick up. Files will be printed in the order they are received with priority given to academic and research projects with a deadline; during busy periods, turnaround time may be up to 15 business days. Projects for personal use are not guaranteed a specific turnaround time; larger objects and high resolution prints will take longer to complete.

Who can submit 3D print requests?

3D printing is availabe to current UNC-CH affiliates. Academic use will be given priority over other projects. Non-academic print requests have no guaranteed turnaround time and are subject to staff approval. Due to the volume of requests, please limit your submissions to one non-academic project per month requiring no more than 300g of material.

Can I operate a printer myself?

The printers will only be operated directly by staff right now. If you are interested in operating a 3D printer yourself, visit the the BeAM@Carmichael and BeAM@Murray locations.  Directions and orientation times can be found here.

What material is used by the 3D printer to make the objects?

We offer PLA (polylactic acid) bioplastic, which is suitable for moving parts and and functional prototypes, on the Ultimaker 3 and the Lulzbot Mini and TAZ 6. The FormLab Form 2 uses methacrylate photopolymer resin. The uPrint SE Plus uses ABS plastic.

What happens if I forget to pick up my model?

Models that are left or not picked up after 1 week may be discarded unless prior arrangements have been made with staff.

Are there any restrictions on what I can print?

The printers are for non-commercial use only and should not be used to print items that are intended for sale. The printers also cannot be used to print weapons or facsimiles of weapons. Review our Policies page for more information.