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The Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library

About the 3D Printers

All three 3D printers are capable of creating a multitude of 3D objects out of plastic.  They are “fused deposition modeling” systems, meaning that the printers melt plastic filament into fine thread and deposit this thread layer by layer according to a 3D digital model tool path. Files can be sent to the printer via SD card or the attached desktop computer.


Each printer has its own difficulty level, with the MakerBot being the most approachable for those wanting to explore 3D printing technology without having background experience in 3D printing. Patrons who are new to 3D printing may enjoy the plug-n-play nature of the MakerBot, since it offers a simple approach to the process of printing with PLA filament. Since many of its functions are automated and less prone to user error, it is the most reliable printer in terms of overall print success.

The Lulzbot Taz 6 will be of interest to patrons who wish to print using higher resolution settings than offered by the MakerBot, or those who would simply like access to a wider range of filament or print size choices. The Lulzbot is the more open source printer of the two, and is great for those patrons who are mainly interested in the process of 3D printing and the technology itself. Compared to the MakerBot, the Lulzbot offers more in terms of user control over the process, more filament options, and is capable of the highest FDM print resolution, but requires more user knowledge and involvement.

MakerBot Replicator+ Specifications

  • Uses polylactic acid (PLA) plastic in a 1.75mm filament
  • Maximum build size: 11.6”L x 7.6”W x 6.5”H 
  • Highest resolution: 100 microns [0.0039 inches]
  • On-board camera
  • Assisted leveling of the build plate
  • Uses MakerBot Desktop processing software, capable of processing .stl, .obj., .thing, and .makerbot files

More information on the MakerBot Replicator+ printer technical specs.

Lulzbot TAZ 6 Specifications

  • Prints with 3mm (2.85mm) filament in a wide array of materials: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, wood filled filaments, Polyester (Tritan), PETT, bronze and copper filled filaments, Polycarbonate, Nylon, PETG, conductive PLA and ABS, UV luminescent filaments, PCTPE, PC-ABS, Alloy 910, and more every day.
  • Maximum build size: 11.02in x 11.02in x 9.8in (approximately the size of a human head)
  • Highest resolution: 50 microns [0.002 inches]
  • Unassisted leveling of the build plate
  • Uses Cura Lulzbot Edition processing software, capable of processing .stl, .obj, .dae,. and .amf files from SD card or through direct computer connection. 

More information on the Lulzbot TAZ 6 printer.