VCU LibrariesResearch Guides

Use the 3D printers

Innovative Media staff

Eric Johnson's picture
Eric Johnson
Cabell Library, Lower Level Room 078

901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033

(804) 828-2802

Innovative Media staff

Ken Hopson's picture
Ken Hopson
James Branch Cabell Library
901 Park Ave
Richmond, VA 23284


Virginia Commonwealth Libraries' Innovative Media department currently maintains three 3D printers:


MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen
MakerBot Detailed Instructions



Lulzbot TAZ 5
Lulzbot Detailed Instructions

These printers can be found in The Workshop in James Branch Cabell Library, in room 078 of the lower level.  Supporting 3D design and conversion software is installed on several workstations in The Workshop.  These printers are made available to encourage a spirit of exploration and experimentation by the VCU community with this newly-accessible form of design and production.  We hope that you will share your experience (and models) as part of the growing community of 3D printer practitioners, makers, and others interested in the technology.


Steps to Using The Workshop's 3D Printers


Download or create a 3D model



Choose the printer that you want to print on



Attend an orientation for the printer



Reserve time on the printer

  • Use The Workshop's reservation calendar to block out time for your print
  • Reserve the printer for the full length of time it will take to print your object, plus add a bit more time in case of any snags
  • When you arrive to The Workshop for your reservation time, stop by the front desk to 'check out' the printer


Prepare your object using a slicing program

  • 3D models (generally file types .stl and .obj) need to be loaded into a slicing program, which prepare the model to be printed using g-code
  • In The Workshop we use Cura for the Ultimaker and Lulzbot, and Makerbot Print for the Makerbot
  • The slicing program is also where you control the quality and other elements of the print
  • Instructions for using a slicing program are detailed in the orientations and in our instructions


Print and enjoy

  • Set up the printer using our detailed instructions
  • At this time, all 3D printing at The Workshop are free to everyone in the VCU community