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The Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library

3D Design Files and Conversion for Printing

The Makerspace 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. Sticking with .stl and .obj files assures the widest range of uses among our 3D printers.

The files must be converted to a 3D printer build file before printing, which can be done for the Prusa i3 MK4 with the PrusaSlicer software downloaded on the workstation in the HSL Makerspace. For the Formlabs Form 4 printer you can use PreForm to edit your file before sending it to the email or send us the unedited 3D object file with the specific dimensions you have in mind and we will edit it (PreForm is also downloaded on the Makerspace workstation). 

Software and Resources

Sites with downloadable designs

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 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
A 3D printing Wiki with designs and steps to build different kinds of 3D printers Free
Open source 3D models Free
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.

A powerful, free and open source 3D animation suite you can use for 3D models. Enable the 3D Printing Toolbox. Free
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
Originally developed by Google. Good for practical and architectural design. Free or pro versions.  Free /
Free software for creating solid 3D CAD models. Good application for applications like 3D models of machine parts. Free
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

3D Printing in the Health Sciences

These ebooks are available through VCU Libraries:

3D Printing for the Radiologist by Nicole Wake
ISBN:  9780323775748
Publication date: 2022

3D Printing in Bone Surgery by Carmine Zoccali
ISBN:  9783030919009
Publication date: 2022

3D Printing in Medicine and Its Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other Novel Medical and Non-Medical Devices by Frank J. Rybicki
ISBN:  3030619931
Publication date:  2021

3D Printing in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by Lobat Tayebi
ISBN:  9783030777869
Publication date:  2021

Anatomy for Urologic Surgeons in the Digital Era: Scanning, Modelling and 3D Printing by Domenico Veneziano
ISBN:  9783030594787
Publication date:  2021

Applications of 3D Printing in Biomedical Engineering by Neeta Raj Sharma
ISBN:  9813368888
Publication date:  2021

Cardiovascular 3D Printing : Techniques and Clinical Application by Jian Yang
ISBN:  9811569576
Publication date:  2021

Clinical Atlas of 3D Printing Bone Reconstruction by Hyun-Guy Kang
ISBN:  9811620431
Publication date:  2021

Women in 3D Printing: From Bones to Bridges and Everything in Between by Stacy M. DelVecchio
ISBN:  9783030707354
Publication date:  2021

3D Printing in Biomedical Engineering by Sunpreet Singh
ISBN:  9811554242
Publication date:  2020

3D Printing in Medicine and Surgery: Applications in Healthcare by Daniel J. Thomas
ISBN:  9780081025420
Publication date:  2020

3D Printing in Orthopaedic Surgery by Matthew Dipaola
ISBN:  9780323581196
Publication date:  2019

3D Printing and Biofabrication by Aleksandr Ovsianikov
ISBN:  3319454447
Publication date:  2018

3D Printing of Pharmaceuticals by Abdul W. Basit
ISBN:  3319907557
Publication date:  2018

3D Printing Applications in Cardiovascular Medicine by Subhi J. Al'Aref
ISBN:  9780128039175
Publication date:  2018

Rapid Prototyping in Cardiac Disease: 3D Printing the Heart by Kanwal Majeed Farooqi
ISBN:  9783319535227
Publication date:  2017

3D Printing in Medicine by Deepak Kalaskar
ISBN:  0081007264
Publication date:  2017

3D Printing in Medicine A Practical Guide for Medical Professionals by Frank J. Rybicki
ISBN:  3319619241
Publication date:  2017

A Focus on 3D Printing for Healthcare Applications by Bingley
ISBN:  9781785608834
Publication date:  2015