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Visit the Library Makerspace on the second floor!

3D Printing at the Library Makerspace

The Library Makerspace has 3D printers available for you to print all kinds of cool projects! Any student, staff, or faculty member can currently print for free. 

Print Your Model

Print request form

For printing tips and more information about services, take a look at our 3D Printing Tips below.


Keep an eye on this page to find updates about Makerspace and 3D printing services.

Visit the SkillShops guide and Makerspace Meetups page to learn about what kinds of workshops and tutorials are being offered.


Please email your questions to makerspace@humboldt.edu. 

What do you think?

We are always trying to come up with ways to improve the Library and Makerspace. If you have any requests, suggestions, recommendations, or thoughts, please share your thoughts through our online feedback form!

3D Printing Tips

Where is the Makerspace?

The Library Makerspace is located on the second floor of the library across from the whiteboard study areas and is open M-F 1-7pm.

How do I get involved with 3D Printing?

You can submit your models you designed or remixed for printing any time through our request form (link above). You can also learn more about creating models through our online and in-person workshops and programming. 

Email: makerspace@humboldt.edu

Yeah, but how do I print something?

Basic Info

  1. Design or remix a model you want to print in .stl format.
  2. Fill out the print request form (link above) and attach your file.
  3. Check for any emails from us about your print and pick it up when it's ready!

If you aren't sure how to get or make your model, check out the detailed information below:

File Format

One of the first  things you’ll need is a 3D model file. There are many ways to get a file (which we’ll cover later) but the simplified explanation is that you need a .stl file of your model. This is the stereolithography format which is a standard for 3D printing. If you create a model or download someone else’s, just be sure to download it in .stl format. Almost all programs will have this option, if you have questions or are having trouble converting your model to .stl, get in touch with us: makerspace@humboldt.edu.

In the world of creating 3D models, you will come across an almost endless list of file formats. Generally speaking, models created for use in digital projects (virtual and augmented reality, animation, etc.) will be in formats that are not quite ready to print and won’t necessarily have the structural design to actually be printed (without a little bit of extra work). Some common digital model formats include GLTF (and GLB), PLY, COLLADA, and OBJ. It’s important to note that some of these work fine with 3D printing, but one of the major differences with these formats compared with the functionality required for 3D printing is that the digital formats include image files and other information that determines what the surface of the model looks like. These images and colors make digital renderings come to life and add another level of visual complexity to the models. However, the images won’t show up in a 3D print. When you print a model with a 3D printer, it will generally all be one color (there are, of course, cutting edge printers that give you more options but models are generally printed in one color).

Print Sizes

We currently have two printers: an Ender 3 S1 Pro and and Ender 3 S1 Plus. The Pro can print objects up to 220x220x270mm (8.6x8.6x10.6 inches). The Plus can print objects up to 300x300x300mm (11.8x11.8x11.8 inches). These sizes are also dependent on the model and how it can be placed on the print bed, so these are maximum limits, and actual print size limits may be smaller. When you submit your file, include some info about sizing if there are specific requirements you must meet and we can help ensure we make that happen.


We primarily print with PLA, PolyLactic Acid, which is a plastic that is made from plant materials (often corn) with low VOC and odors. We also use a nozzle diameter that reduces the emissions (0.4mm). PLA is also a very consistently clean material to print with and works well with various colors, textures (like wood, shiny, glow in the dark), and added materials (like magnetic and conductive materials).

We also print with PETG and TPU, which are less studied than PLA but are currently also relatively low VOC and safe if printed at proper temperatures and settings (which we stay within). These materials offer properties that PLA does not - PETG is more flexible and TPU is very flexible, almost like rubber. If your project requires some special material qualities, let us know!

We do not print with ABS or other materials that produce higher levels of emissions and VOCs. ABS is quite stinky even if it is arguably safe at low levels of exposure.

3D Modeling Software

There are quite a few programs that allow you to create a 3D model from scratch. When creating 3D models for printing, people generally use CAD (computer-aided design) programs which allow you to be very precise and create models that will be structurally sound for printing. For digital projects, there are other programs that specialize in making materials and skins that help bring models to life and mimic real-world textures in a visual way. Any software will allow you to create models for digital applications like games, VR and AR. However, design software that isn't intended for CAD use, may not create structurally sound models for printing.

Here are a few we recommend:

CAD 3D modeling programs

Programs for making digital models (non-CAD)

Where else can I get models?

There is a very robust community of makers who are happy to share their models. Some are available for free for you to remix and/or print. Some are available for a fee. Here are some places we recommend for finding models that you can export as .stl files:

Digital Models (can sometimes be converted for print, but are usually intended for digital projects)

You can also upload your models to these sites to share with others or to sell! Sketchfab has an app that allows you to view your model in augmented reality.

I have a model. How do I print it?

The Library Makerspace has a couple of ways that you can get in touch with us:

Email: makerspace@humboldt.edu
If you are pretty sure you’re ready to print, go ahead and fill out the request form (at the top of this page) and we’ll get started on your print and/or get in touch with you about any possible issues (for example, we may need to add support structures so the print will come out okay, or we may need to resize your model).

How much does it cost?

Nothing. Currently, we have funding that allows us to pay for your printing costs. Our policy is to accommodate as many people as possible with free prints, so take advantage!

How many prints can I make?

Be considerate of your fellow students, faculty, and staff and make reasonable requests so that everyone can have the opportunity to take advantage of 3D printing through the Makerspace. The number of prints depends on your project:

  • is it for an assignment or for personal use?
  • did you design or remix your model or did you just use someone's design?
  • how long will it take or how labor intensive is it to make your print?
  • does your print have a purpose or is just to have?

Keep in mind that this is a tool to help you prototype your ideas rather than mass produce designs that you made or found online. We will consult with you on your request if we have any concerns about fulfilling your request or if we cannot accommodate the number of items you requested.

We want to promote your work

We are happy to help you with your project and would love to hear about how you used your model. If you post anything on social media, be sure to tag @cphlibrarymakerspace or use #CalPolyHumboldtLibrary or #cphlibrarymakerspace.
We may also ask for your permission to share photos of your model when we print it.

Mass Production & Commercial Printing

The Cal Poly Humboldt Makerspace is happy to help you ideate and prototype your projects but we don't provide full mass production support. If you're looking to make multiple prints of your design or want to explore other materials that we don't support (stainless steel, flexible plastic, etc), there are many companies that provide that service. We do not endorse or recommend any of these, but are sharing some of the more established companies. These are just a few and a quick Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo search for "3D printing services" will provide more options out there.

What do you think?

We are always trying to come up with ways to improve the Library and Makerspace. If you have any requests, suggestions, recommendations, or thoughts, please share your thoughts through our online feedback form!