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Use the 3D printers

Innovative Media staff

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

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

(804) 828-2802
Website

Innovative Media staff

Ken Hopson's picture
Ken Hopson
Contact:
James Branch Cabell Library
901 Park Ave
Richmond, VA 23284
804.827.3594
Website

Detailed Instructions

3D Design Files and Conversion for Printing

The Innovative Media printers can fabricate 3D models from any 3D design software that is capable of exporting the file as a .stl, .obj, .maker, or several other 3D file formats.


The files must be converted to a 3D printer build file before printing, which can be done for the Makerbot with MakerBot Desktop Software; for the Ultimaker 2 with Cura for the Ultimaker; for the Lulzbot TAZ 5 with Cura for the Lulzbot (the software is actually more cross-compatible for advanced users, but that's an easy way to keep it straight). Several computers in Innovative Media have MakerBot Desktop programs installed. Moreover, various 3D design software packages are available including AutoDesk Maya, AutoDesk 3ds Max, and Google Sketchup Pro.

Software and Resources

Sites with downloadable designs

Thingiverse
The most widely used 3D model repository in the Maker and 3D printing enthusiast community. Dedicated to sharing user-created digital design files under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons License. Free
National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange
3D-printable models related to biomedical science Free
My Mini Factory
MyMiniFactory.com offers a large range of downloadable 3D printable objects. Each object has been test printed and comes with a how-to section that explains how to achieve the best print. Free
3D Warehouse
Sketchup's searchable design library Free
RepRap
A 3D printing Wiki with designs and steps to build different kinds of 3D printers Free
YouMagine
Open source 3D models Free
Yeggi
A search engine of available 3D printable files Free
NASA 3D Resources
3D models of asteroids, landing sites, the Curiosity Rover and more Free


Design tools

When you want to design your own objects. Computer stations at The Workshop also have more powerful commercial 3D design software, including Maya and 3ds Max.

Blender
A powerful, free and open source 3D animation suite you can use for 3D models. Enable the 3D Printing Toolbox. Free
Sculptris
Similar to Zbrush or Mudbox but easier to learn. Geometry-independent (uses dynamic tessellation) so ideal for someone with no prior experience with modeling. Free
Sketchup
Originally developed by Google. Good for practical and architectural design. Free or pro versions.  Free /
OpenSCAD
Free software for creating solid 3D CAD models. Good application for applications like 3D models of machine parts. Free
Tinkercad
Browser-based 3D design platform, now part of Autodesk (free version available). Free /
123D Design
Free, powerful, yet simple 3D creation and editing tool from Autodesk Free

 

Object integrity tools

To make sure your design has the structural integrity and completeness needed for 3D printing

MeshLab
  Free
netfabb
powering the cloud-based Microsoft 3D Model Repair Service Free

3D Printer Manuals

You can access the manuals for the 3D printers here: