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Visit the Library Makerspace on the third floor!

3D Printing at the Library Makerspace

HSU Library Makerspace has a 3D printer available for you to print all kinds of cool projects! Any student, staff, or faculty member can print for free on our Lulzbot Mini 2 printer through Spring 2020. More information about the our 3D printer and how to work with and make 3D models to come on this guide.

Meet Up & Make

Makerspace Student assistants are available to assist you with your 3D printing projects and questions every Monday-Saturday from noon-2pm and 5-7pm. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops and theme days!

Print Your Model

3D Printing Tips

Where is the Makerspace?

The HSU Library Makerspace is located on the third floor of the library across from the Special Collection. The Makerspace includes computers that have maker-centered software (like Adobe CC, Blender, Solidworks, and more), a Flight Simulator (a project of the PC Gaming Club), the Augmented Reality Sandbox (another student-led project), the VR Station (Oculus Rift with a computer for development using Unity), and during open hours (see last page for info), the Lulzbot Mini 2 3D printer.

How do I get involved with 3D Printing?

Check the Makerspace site for up-to-date hours, but currently, the space is staffed Tues-Sat 5-7pm for 3D printing and other needs. If you are interested in printing, you can get in touch with us two different ways:


Print request form

Yeah, but how do I print something?

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:

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).

How can I make a Model?

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.

Here are a few we recommend:

Web-based CAD Programs

Tinkercad: Great for beginners. Free and includes a wide range of tutorials and projects that you can remix

OnShape: More advanced program that has free personal licenses. Apps are also available in the Google Play and Apple stores.

The HSU Virtual Lab (VLab) provides HSU students, staff and faculty to software through a virtual web-based environment. The VLab environment is a Windows system that includes many useful programs, including some 3D modeling programs. You can use the VLab with any type of computer- this means that you can run Windows programs on Macs, Linux, or Chromebooks.

CAD programs with free personal/educational licenses

Solidworks: Used in the HSU Engineering department. Windows only. Available on Makerspace computers. Also available on the HSU VLab (including cross-platform and off-campus access).

Fusion 360: From AutoDesk, the makers of Tinkercad. Soon to be on Makerspace computers.

Non-CAD programs with free licenses

Blender: an open source program used for creating animated films. Allows for export as .stl files. Available on Makerspace computers. Free and open source.

Google Blocks: create sculptures in VR and export for printing. Available on the Makerspace VR Station. Free.

Supercraft: create sculptures in VR and save it as a webpage where you can record animated gifs and download your model. Available on the Makerspace VR Station. Free.

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 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:
Print request form
If you are pretty sure you’re ready to print, go ahead and fill out the request form 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. As of now (2019-20), we have a grant 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!

Makerspace Hours and Events

If you have an idea but aren’t quite ready to print and want to talk to us to get some feedback or advice, email us and/or stop by:

Drop-in hours:


  • noon-2:00 pm
  • 5-7:00 pm

Meet Up and Make Hour:

  • Wednesdays noon-1:00 pm
  • Thursdays 5-6:00 pm

And keep an eye on the SkillShops calendar for upcoming workshops.

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 #humboldtstate or #hsulibrary!
We may also ask for your permission to share photos of your model when we print it.

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!