Getting the Most Out of 3D Printing

What's New in 3D Printing at Arapahoe Libraries?

You may have noticed new machines working away in our branches. They’re big, orange and really enjoy singing. What are they? They’re our new 3D printers!

Meet the Prusa i3 MK3S+ printer. It has a .4mm nozzle, a bigger build space and a detachable plate. Each of the Arapahoe Libraries has at least one. They all have names, too! Just ask a Technology Specialist and they’ll be happy to tell you all about them.

3D Printing Tips

While 3D printers create amazing things, it’s helpful to remember they’re just one part of the creative process. Think of it as being one tool in a box instead of the whole toolbox. Here are some tips for getting the most out of 3D printing with the library:

  • Make sure everything in your design is at least 1-2mm thick. This is the smallest size our printers can print.
  • Most items that print in 5 hours or less are about the size of a fist. If you’re unsure about your design’s size, we suggest letting us resize your print, just in case it’s too big or way too small for our printers.
  • Sometimes it helps to split a design into parts, especially if that will help eliminate the need for supports. Supports are great for keeping your design in place while it’s printing but can potentially damage your print while they’re being removed.
  • Remember that the more complex an item, the more supports you may have to remove. This is especially true for figurines, so it’s helpful to be patient when removing supports.
  • If your print breaks - that’s okay! Keep some super glue handy to make repairs as needed. Pro tip: refrigerate your super glue and spritz a little water on the part you want to fix to help the glue cure faster.

What about color?

That’s where other tools in the proverbial toolbox come in! Our service gets so many requests that we aren’t able to accommodate color requests, as that creates delays. However, using acrylic paint pens and spray paint are excellent for customizing your prints.

Want to learn how to 3D print? Check out our 3D printing page for resources on how to get started.

Already into 3D printing and want to expand your knowledge? Check out our Makerspace and learn how you can get certified to use their 3D printers. It’s great for designs that need extra special settings or a little more time to print.