3D Printing in the Denver Public Library ideaLABs

We've made some changes to the way we offer 3D printing!

We're excited to let you (yes, you!) get more hands-on with the printers and run your print job yourself. This does mean we are no longer running a print queue or accepting submissions for printing - but now you will have the chance to run the entire process yourself, from design to finished print.

Use of the 3D printer is by reservation - please drop in or call the branch to reserve time. You will need a Denver Public Library card to make a reservation in advance. The maximum time you can reserve is two hours. We ask that people only make one reservation per week so as many people as possible can use the printers. Please read the full 3D Printer Policy below for details. We also have an FAQ below that for general questions about 3D printing.

Every ideaLAB has at least one Lulzbot printer. Visit your neighborhood lab to learn more! Please note that the ideaLAB at the Central Library will remain closed due to on-going renovations to the building.

Denver Public Library ideaLAB 3D Printer Policies

As the ideaLBs reopen, the use of tools may look somewhat different than in the past. One of the big changes we’re making is to give customers more of a hands-on experience using the 3D printer.

In order to help you use the 3D printer successfully (and safely), we ask that you read through the following policies:

  • Please try to read through the 3D Printing Guide before your first visit if you can.
  • You have to have a completed safety waiver on file (you can do it when you come in) before using the 3D printers. You'll have an in-person orientation with a staff member on your first visit.
  • During the in-person orientation, a staff member will have you load and prepare a sample file and then begin printing it. We'll be showing you the basics and getting you ready to run your own jobs.
  • Please plan for this in-person orientation to take up to 30 minutes of your reservation time. This orientation only needs to be completed once, and in future reservations you will have the chance to use your full two hours.
  • If it seems like you're not able to operate the 3D printer by yourself yet, we'll keep checking in with you or suggest alternatives like bringing in a parent or guardian if you're younger.
  • Use of the 3D printer is by reservation only.  For the present, a reservation gives you the right to use the printer for two hours, once per week. We ask that families and groups not make multiple or back-to-back reservations under different accounts - that makes it much harder for other people to get access to the 3D printers.
  • Please know that if you don't show up within 10 minutes of your reservation time, the system will automatically cancel it.
  • If the printer is broken when you have a reservation, we'll do our best to let you know ahead of time, but sometimes that may not be possible.
  • You must check in with ideaLAB staff before using the machines so you can get the material you're using approved by lab staff and get the 3D printer toolkit. We want to make sure everyone is safe and that you're comfortable with the equipment.
  • We're sorry, but you can't bring in your own filament. We want to keep jams and fumes to a minimum for everyone.  We will provide free PLA+ filament, but we can't change out colors for each customer nor guarantee you a specific color.
  • We'll give you some basic troubleshooting tips, but if something goes wrong, please don't do anything that involves disassembling printer hardware. Doing so will result in loss of privileges to use the machine. Please let us know if a problem pops up and we'll help!
  • Things happen. Occasionally extruders will jam, beds will get scorched, and minor disasters will occur - these are understandable, and part of the process of learning how to use the printer, and will not affect your ability to reserve and use the machines. If you do something intentionally dangerous or that we've asked you not to do - using unapproved filament, removing parts from the machines, etc. - you will lose your privilege to use the machines..
  • DPL printers can not be used to print out any weapons (if it's for cosplay, talk to staff and we'll try to figure it out). Outside of that, most things should be fine, but the Library retains the right to refuse any print request for any reason.​
  • Set-up and clean-up time is part of your 2 hour reservation, so please plan accordingly!  Please finish your 3D printing jobs at least 10 minutes before the session ends so you can clean up materials and station. Jobs can not be left running overnight or past the end of your 2 hour reservation.

3D Printing FAQ

What is 3D printing?
Start with this definitive guide where you’ll find everything you need to know about 3D printing, beginning with the very basics before diving deeper.

How much does it cost?
3D Printing is currently free at Denver Public Library!

What can be printed?
All printing is done with ​PLA, a bioplastic made of corn. It might get a little melty if you leave it on your car dashboard, and you may not want to use it to make shelving mounts for your prize kettlebell collection. It's possible to make your model a little bit stronger by making it's walls thicker or requesting more infill. Ask us about it and we'll try to help you out. But if the piece you're printing is really mission critical in some way, use it at your own risk.​

What cannot be printed?
Due to demand and limited resources, we can't print any job that will take over two hours. If you have something you'd like to print that will take longer than that, we're happy to help you try to figure out how to break up your model into smaller jobs, scale your print, or point you to one of the many paid 3D printing services. We also will not print out any weapons. Outside of that, most things should be fine, but the Library retains the right to refuse any print request for any reason.​

Who can operate the printer?
Anyone who goes through an orientation with a staff member can! Read through the 3D Printer Policy above to learn how.

LulzBot TAZ 4

How To Get Your Object Printed

 

 

  1. Create a file

    • You can download an object file from a site like Thingiverse, Bld3r or use some of the lab's free modeling software like Tinkercad, Blender or SketchUp to make your own designs.
    • Export your object as a .stl or .obj file. Need help? Just ask!
  2. Make your reservation

    • Reserve time by coming by the branch, calling, or come into the ideaLAB during our open hours. You can reserve up to two hours on the machine.
  3. Print out your creation

    • If it's your first time in the lab using a printer (even if you've used a printer before), please budget a half hour of your first reservation for an orientation with a staff member. They'll run through the basics on the machine and get you started.