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NOTICE: The library's Prusa MK3S+ 3D printer will be unavailable until further notice. At this time we are unsure how long our 3D printing services will remain unavailable.
WHAT IS IT?
3D printing is the process of taking designs created using computer-aided design (CAD) software and turning them into three-dimensional objects made of plastic, typically PLA. PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a raw material used to create 3D models and is one of the most popular 3D printing materials (known as filaments) around. As a thermoplastic polyester (biodegradable and bioactive), PLA is derived from various renewable (green) resources; In the US and Canada PLA is made from corn starch, in Asia, starch and tapioca roots and other places around the world use sugarcane.
In accordance with the Fox River Valley Public Library District’s Strategic Plan, the Library will enrich learning opportunities by employing technology to benefit our residents, including the integration of digital literacy and “maker” culture. Our 3D printer accomplishes this by:
introducing patrons to manufacturing and engineering as viable career options
Empowering patrons to use CAD software to design and create three-dimensional objects that have both practical and fun purposes
Engaging patrons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
Providing another level of service for our patrons to utilize and enjoy.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Fox River Valley Public Library District has a Prusa i3 MK3S+ and primarily uses PLA (polylactic acid) plastic, known as filament, to create objects. PLA filament is a bioplastic that is derived from corn and contains no heavy metals, phthalates or BPA. Once a design is sent to the printer, the printer feeds the filament through an extruder with a metal nozzle on the end. The extruder heats up to 215 degrees Celsius (419 degrees Fahrenheit) and extrudes the filament on to a metal sheet heated to 60 degrees celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) in sheets, layer-by-layer. As these sheets cool they bind together to create an object.
Objects created with the 3D printer can range from completely hollow (known as Vase Mode) to completely solid as determined by the quality settings input into the printer. Higher quality prints use much more filament than lower quality prints.
It is important to note that the purpose of our 3D printer is to promote and foster creativity and knowledge, therefore we cannot guarantee that objects printed will be of commercial quality. If patrons need something to be extremely precise, they may consider using a commercial printer.
PRINTER BASICS, COST AND DEFAULTS
Maximum print dimensions: 8.3 (L) x 8.3 (W) x 9.84 (H) inches; your 3D model(s) should fall within these dimensions.
Print time: There are many factors that could affect the print time of your model, from size, to infill to complexity. The bigger the object, the longer it takes to print while very detailed models will need to print at slower speed.
Cost: 3D prints are $.10 per gram
Defaults: Unless otherwise specified, a 3D model will be printed in 0.20mm layer height with a 10% infill. See "Rules and Procedures" near the top of this page for more information on layer heights and infill.
HOW TO SUBMIT A 3D PRINT REQUEST
See the "Request a Print" near the top of this page for more information.
The Fox River Valley Public Library District has a variety of colors available to choose from and is always adding more to the selection; check back often for new color choices!