VCU Libraries

Research Guides

The Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library

Equipment Available at the HSL Makerspace

Welcome to the Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library!

The VCU Health Sciences Library offers two different 3D printers, as well as a variety of other equipment including a Cricut cutting machine, a Glowforge laser cutter, and several VR systems.

This equipment can be found in the Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library, located on the first floor.  Supporting 3D design and conversion software is installed on the Makerspace workstation. This equipment is available to encourage exploration and experimentation by the VCU and VCU Health community.  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.

How to Use the Health Sciences Library Makerspace

1

Choose a project!

  • The Makerspace has two 3D printers, a Cricut cutting machine, and a Glowforge laser cutter. Start by exploring this guide to learn more about each piece of equipment and how to get started.
  • Locate or create your project file. For 3D printing, search 3D object repositories or create your own model using 3D design software at home. For cutting projects, find or create an .svg file for the design you want to make. 

2

Attend an orientation session.


3

Reserve time on the equipment.

  • Use the Makerspace Booking Form to block out time for your project.
  • Reserve the equipment for the full length of time it will take to complete your project (i.e., the full estimated print time for a 3D print), plus add a bit more time in case of any snags.
  • When you arrive to the library for your reservation time, stop by the service desk to check in.

4

Prepare your project file using appropriate software.

  • Instructions for preparing a project are included in the orientation sessions for each piece of equipment.
  • Prior to your booking, prepare your project file for printing:
    • 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. The slicing program also controls the quality and other elements of the print.
    • Cricut and Glowforge prints (.svg files) can be prepared in any vector manipulation software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape and imported to the equipment software for printing. Be sure to double-check which file formats are compatible with the equipment you're using by visiting the equipment page linked in the menu to the left of this guide.

5

Print and enjoy!

  • At this time, all 3D printing at the Makerspace is free to everyone in the VCU community. Users should bring their own materials to cut on the Cricut and Glowforge machines. 
  • Set up the equipment according to the training you received during the orientation session, and refer to the instructions on this guide as needed. 
  • Be sure to check back on 3D print jobs to ensure the print is running smoothly, and to pick up your print in a timely manner once it is completed. Cricut and Glowforge prints should never be left unattended while the equipment is running.