3D Printing, 3D Modeling and 3D Scanning Services

This page offers information about the UCI Libraries’ 3D printing services, 3D modeling software and 3D Scanning. Due to licensing restrictions, 3D printing services, 3D Scanning and 3D modeling software is only available to UCI students, faculty and staff on a first come first serve basis.

3D printing has changed the landscape of fabrication. From engineers to artists, entrepreneurs to hobbyists, 3D printing makes it easy to turn an idea into reality. The UCI Libraries have three 3D printers to support such creativity. Located in the Multimedia Resources Center in the Ayala Science Library the 3D printers are available to UCI faculty, students, and staff.

To print a 3D object users must bring their design to the MRC during business hours. The print object must be an .STL file on a USB flash drive formatted in NTFS or FAT32 format. Each file or part if the file contains multiple parts must be submitted separately by filling out a separate 3D Printing Request Form available at the MRC. All submissions are subject to approval based on scheduling and availability of the 3D printers.

  • Filament: 1.75 mm polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Build Volume: 25.2 L x 19.9 W x 15.0 H cm [9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 in] or 7,522 cubic centimeters [456 cubic inches]
  • Cost: $6.50 setup fee plus cost of filament ($0.05 per gram)
  • Form of payment: Must use UCI ID card or UCI Libraries card to pay for object printed. Library copy/print cards are available for purchase to UCI students, faculty and staff without campus ID cards, and for departmental use.  Funds can be added to both campus ID cards and Library copy/print cards, and Library copy/print cards may be purchased, at Card Refill Stations located in the Langson, Ayala Science and Grunigen Medical Libraries as well as the Libraries Gateway Study Center.
  • Available Colors: Natural, Black, White, Red, Blue and Seasonal (Varies each quarter)

How long does it take?

The 3D printer creates a model by applying one layer of material at a time, so the print time is dependent on the amount of modeling and support material required, as well as the intricacy of the model. If requested, a customer will be informed the amount of time the printer requires to complete their model but, depending on the size of the queue, it can take up to several days for their model to begin printing. Build times typically range from 2 hours to 48 hours each; palm-sized prints typically take less than ten hours, whereas larger models that reach the maximum size restraints can take over 48 hours to complete. Once the object is completed and inspected, the customer will be notified by email that their model is available for pick-up.

Full Service 3D Printing

Our full service 3D printing service addresses the needs of those who lack the time to learn to operate a 3D printer or require a faster turnaround due to impending class assignment deadlines. The technician will test integrity of file structure to make sure it is working and will optimize printer settings to print a denser object in less time. Our Makerbot printers and 3D printing experts are capable of fabricating high quality 3D printed objects. We will inspect the file, tune it and try to print it at least two times to our exacting standards.

Full service check-list

  1. Patron fills out 3D printing service form and MRC staff attaches flash drive with STL file to printing form.
  2. Staff checks file integrity and notifies patron if unable to print due to unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Staff starts printing object or puts it on the printing queue if there is one, then MRC staff removes 3D print object from 3D Print Lab when complete.
  4. Patron is notified that print is ready for pick up.
  5. Patron comes to the MRC and picks up printing payment slip and pays setup fee plus cost of filament used at Ayala Science Library Check Out Desk. Patron is reminded that all 3D print jobs must be paid using a UCI ID card or print/copy card.
  6. Patron returns to the MRC with proof of payment and picks up 3D printed object.
  7. If patron does not pick up 3D printing object within 7 business days of being notified it is available, it becomes the property of UCI Libraries.

The UCI Libraries will be offering a self-service 3D Printing Service in Fall 2017. For any questions contact the MRC.

Makerbot
desktop running modeling software
close up of next engine logo

Designing a 3D object to print is done using 3D modeling software. There are many 3D modeling programs available, including professional programs like SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor (which are available in the MRC), and free software programs like Blender, Wings3D, FreeCAD, and Sketchup. You will need to export your 3D model into .STL (STereoLithography) format in order to print it.

3d modeling close-up

The UCI Libraries has one 3D scanner available at the Multimedia Resources Center in the Specialized Computing Area. Due to their learning curve, we recommend making an appointment at the MRC Desk with one of our multimedia experts if you would like to use the scanner.

scanner in action

How can I become authorized to use the 3D printer?

3D Printing self-service is not currently available. The UCI Libraries is currently exploring the possibility of offering a self-service 3D Printing Service in late 2016 or early 2017.

Who can print?

The 3D printing service is available for use by UCI students, faculty, and staff on a first-come first-served basis.

  • Students must be enrolled in the current quarter or summer session to use the service.
  • Faculty and staff may use the service if they have a current university appointment.

What can I print?

The 3D printer must be used exclusively for lawful, non-commercial purposes and in compliance with all University of California policies. Users may not collect, upload, transmit, display, create or distribute content that violates or may violate any law or third-party right, including, without limitation, any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, moral right, privacy right, right of publicity, or any other intellectual property or proprietary right. The UCI Libraries reserve the right to decline any print request for any reason.

What 3D printers does UCI Libraries own?

UC Irvine Libraries has 3 Makerbot Replicator Desktop 3D printers. They use 1.75 mm polylactic acid (PLA) filament.

  • Build Volume: 25.2 L x 19.9 W x 15.0 H cm [9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 in] or 7,522 cubic centimeters [456 cubic inches]

Additional specifications and information about the Makerbot Replicator can be found at the Makerbot store.

Where are the printers located?

The 3D printers are in the Multimedia Resources Center in the Ayala Science Library.

How much does it cost?

Each 3D Printed object incurs a $6.50 basic setup fee plus the costs of the filament. The current cost of filament is $.05 (5 cents) per gram. All 3D print jobs must be paid using a UCI ID card or UCI Libraries copy card.

How do I design my object?

Designing a 3D object to print is done using 3D modeling software. There are many 3D modeling programs available, including professional programs like SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor (which are available in the MRC), and free software programs like Blender, Wings3D, FreeCAD, and Sketchup. You will need to export your 3D model into .STL (STereoLithography) format in order to print it.

How do I print my object?

Users must bring their design to the MRC during business hours. The print object must be an .STL file on a USB flash drive formatted in NTFS or FAT32 format. All submissions are subject to approval based on scheduling and availability of the 3D printers.

What colors can I print in?

Your printed object will be printed in one solid color. Available colors vary. You will be given your choices when you fill out the 3D Printing Form.

What if I have more than one object?

Each individual object must be submitted as a seporate .STL file.

Each file must be submitted separately by filling out a separate 3D Printing Request Form available at the MRC.

How long will my object take to be printed?

The time it takes to print an object can vary widely. See our time guidelines for estimates. Using the UCI Libraries' 3D printer may take up to a week depending on the queue. For more time efficient options, check out these alternate providers. If you have more than one object and there is high demand for the 3D printer, the Libraries may choose to schedule only one printed object per person/entity per day.

How will I know when my printed object is done?

You will receive an email from the UCI Libraries and can pick up your printed object from the MRC during normal business hours. Printed objects will be held for 3 business days.

Why does my printed object look unfinished?

Users may see imperfections in their printed objects. Small bumps or holes and rough edges at the base of an object may occur with 3D printing. Imperfections can be cleaned up with fine sand paper, file and/or tools. The Makerbot Replicator is very accurate but there may be some instances where objects do not fit precisely together. Objects are built from the ground up and in certain instances prints will require support material and / or rafts to ensure proper printing. Support materials is often needed if the design has large overhangs or parts suspended in mid-air. Rafts are often used as support at the base of the model. Users may receive their print job with the raft still on. These are easily removable by the user. Staff will not be responsible for removing materials and / or rafts. All finishing must be done by the user outside of the Libraries’ buildings. See our tips for finishing a printed object.

Is there somewhere else I can print my object?

Check out these alternate providers.

How can I find out more about Self and 3D Printing Full Services?

If you have more questions about 3D printing email libmrc@uci.edu or visit the MRC during business hours.

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