Howard County Library System now offers customers online access to its new 3D printers. To better understand what can and cannot be printed, the costs to print, and the software that is necessary, please review the FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of printing?
The cost of 3D printing is based on the customer’s design. HCLS will prepare a price quote once we receive your file and email it to you for approval before printing.
How do I sign up to print?
Requesting a 3D print job is easy and convenient. Simply visit our website, fill out the online form and submit your design. You will receive an immediate email confirmation that we have received your request.
What kind of software do I need to design my 3D object?
Blender, FreeCAD and OpenSCAD are recommended by Aleph Objects, Inc., the creators of Lulzbot 3D printers. The software is free to download, and is compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Currently, the HCLS PACs do not have 3D modeling software installed, but there are several free online tools available.
What does CAD mean?
CAD stands for Computer Assisted Drawing. It refers to software that helps create 3-dimentional images.
What types of files are accepted?
Our 3D printers accept files saved as .stl or .obj file format.
Can I take a class on 3D design and 3D printers?
In addition to HCLS HiTech classes and events you can access Lynda.com for online classes.
Where can I find 3D object designs and inspiration?
Ideas and free templates are available on web sites such as Thingiverse.com, Pinshape.com, Cubify.com.
What if my child wants to design and print something?
The internet has many CAD programs that are easy to use, such as Tinkercad.com. Cubify.com has pre-made templates that you can easily customize.
How long will my object take to print?
Each object will vary in size and complexity. Print times are only an estimate. Print times cannot exceed 24 hours.
What colors are available for printing 3d objects?
Red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, purple, and pink are the available color options.
Can I print more than one color?
No. HCLS’ 3D printer has single-color capability, therefore files submitted will print in a single color.
What types of materials can it print?
HCLS 3D printers currently use High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) filament.
How large can my object be?
Printed objects can be no larger than 289mm x 266mm x 249mm.
Can I print more than one object?
Customers may submit one file per request. However, each file may contain more than one object as long as the printed object or objects will fit in the 290mm x 275mm x 250mm (11.4in x 10.8in x 9.8in) print area.
Can I print something later if I want to?
To assist with the expected high demand for this service, we ask that customers wait until their current print job is completed before submitting a request for another.
How long do I have to pick up my object?
Printed objects will be held for 30 days. Printed objects left after 30 days will be recycled at HCLS’ discretion.
What happens if my file doesn’t print correctly?
We encourage customers to become accustomed to CAD software and comfortable with their design before submitting to print. Our policy states:
“HCLS is responsible for cases of mechanical failure, objects failing to print fully, errors in the print process, or other factors not in a customer’s control. We will reprint at no additional charge whenever possible.”
Customers are expected to pay for objects printed as specified in the submitted design. Customers may not request a new print in place of the original if dissatisfied with color, scale, quality, design, required support material or other options within the customer’s control. If your object isn’t as you envisioned, we encourage you to redesign your object, or make any necessary changes to the design and submit it to print again.
If there’s a mechanical failure… what happens?
HCLS is responsible for cases of mechanical failure, objects failing to print fully, errors in the print process, or other factors not in a customer’s control. We will reprint at no additional charge whenever possible.
What can HCLS refuse to print?
HCLS staff reserves the right to refuse any 3D request, and will act upon this right if an object is believed to be unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others