3D Printer making an owl

B3D Central: On-Demand 3D Printing

The library provides a centralized 3D printing service. Upload your design, we’ll print it and send it to the branch where you’d like to pick it up. Prints will be ready for pickup within four days of submission. Here's how it works.

  1. Create.
    Design a 3D object or download an existing design. Learn how to use a 3D printer or design objects to be 3D printed.

  2. Submit.
    Send us your 3D object computer file by completing the 3D Print Request Form below.

  3. Make.
    We use our 3D printer to print your object in plastic.

  4. Take.
    Pick up and pay for your finished object at any branch.

Submit a 3D Print Request

Complete a 3D Print Request Form to upload your 3D design file in .stl or .obj file format for printing. You can choose a color for your object—red, white or black PLA filament—and the pickup branch.


When we receive your design, we will review it to ensure it complies with our B3D Central Printing Policy. We will then send you an estimated cost and estimated completion date.

  • The maximum file size is 20MB.
  • The object must not be larger than 6 x 6 x 6 inches due to the size of our printers.
  • Only one file may be submitted at a time. Files may contain multiple objects but total size may not exceed 6 x 6 x 6 inches.
  • Objects are printed on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Designs must not take longer than eight hours to print. Printing time can vary depending on the size and complexity of the object. 
  • Print times are estimates and are not guaranteed. We reserve the right to change the order of print requests based on the size or estimated printing time.
  • Library staff can't make changes to a design after we receive it. If changes are necessary, we will notify you and may recommend simple changes.

Customers are responsible for paying for objects submitted to the 3D Printing Service. The fee is $0.25 per gram of filament used, rounded up to the nearest gram. Once the object is printed, the finished object will be weighed to determine the final cost. The final cost of the object includes any support material that was necessary to print the object. 

Customers will be notified when their finished object is ready for pickup at the selected branch. Staff members at a Service Desk can retrieve the object and accept payment by cash, check or credit card at the time of pickup.

Finished objects may have support material attached to it. Support material should be removed carefully. Library staff will not remove support material, but can recommend methods to remove support material from your finished object.

Refunds or replacements will not be given if customers are not satisfied with the color, quality, size or other option within the customer's control. We encourage customers to make changes to the design and submit another 3D Print Request.

Library staff will reprint, free of charge, any object that fails as a result of printer or filament malfunction. This may add to the production time. We will not reprint objects that fail due to design error. You should check your design carefully from all sides before submitting.

Seven days after the notification that the object is ready to be picked up, a Not-Picked-Up fee of $1 will be added to the account of the person who ordered the print. After 30 days, the print becomes the property of the library.

The Library’s central 3D printer is available to the public to make 3D objects in plastic using a design that is uploaded from a computer file.

  1. Any customer with a library card in good standing is permitted to use the library’s 3D printing service to create objects which are not:
    • Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
    • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous, poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others, or is otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment. (Such use may also violate the terms of use of the manufacturer.)
    • In violation of another's intellectual property rights. For example, the printer will not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
  2. The library reserves all rights to:
    • Prioritize a request due to time or printer capabilities.
    • Set a limit to the maximum amount of time a print job may take.
    • Use the 3D printing service for programs and activities, making it temporarily unavailable to the public.
    • Charge users for print requests.
    • Limit the number of print requests.
    • Refuse any 3D print request.
  3. Use of the 3D printer in the Library does not constitute knowledge, or acknowledgment, of any final use of the 3D product, and the Library specifically disclaims any knowledge thereof.
Fees

The price of 3D printing varies based on the weight of the printed object, rounded up to the nearest gram, at a cost of $.25 per gram.

Seven days after the notification that the object is ready to be picked up, a Not-Picked-Up fee of $1 will be added to the account of the person who ordered the print. After 30 days the print becomes the property of the Library.

Questions? Email 3Dprinting@bcpl.libanswers.com.

New to 3D Design?

3D-printed objects are designed using computer-aided design (CAD) software. We recommend the online app Tinkercad.com for beginners to learn how to create 3D designs. Other apps like Blender and SketchUp can also be used to create objects. 

Or you can download a ready-to-print design from websites like Thingiverse.com, YouMagine.com and MyMiniFactory.com, which feature objects created and shared by the community.

If you are working on prototypes, your design may need a bit of testing and tinkering before submitting to be printed for payment. Call one of our branches with 3D printers open for public use to set up a time to experiment with and perfect your object. Other branches have printers available during specific programs listed on our events page.

To learn more about 3D design and printing or to get certified to use the printers in our B3D Printing-equipped branches, look for an upcoming program, schedule a My Librarian appointment or check out some of the projects and training videos on the Make-It Place.