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3D Printing

A 3D printer is a powerful tool for creativity, innovation, and STEM education for people of all ages. Libraries are in a unique position to make this exciting technology available to the public! Whether you want to create your own CAD files, submit a file from another designer, or just see it in action next time you visit SFPL, please don't hesitate to reach out to us and plan your next project.

Picture of the Finder 2 3D printer.

Interested in 3D printing, but not sure where to start? Check out these great resources!

If you want to give 3D printing a try, you can either start with your own design or use someone else’s (as long as it is meant to be shared—see Creative Commons info below). These are all free to use or offer free options:


Thingiverse ( is the official design community of MakerBot, where people share 3D models for others to download.


3D Warehouse ( is also a sharing community where you can look for designs and learn from others. It’s hosted by SketchUp, a 3D modeling software.


Tinkercad ( is a great choice for beginners looking to create original designs. You can sign up for an account to access tutorials or just to experiment!

Shapr3D ( is a 3D modeling designer available on iPad, Mac, and Windows that is free for students and teachers, and offers a basic free version to anyone.

Creative Commons

Users of websites like Thingiverse often display Creative Commons licenses to communicate to others that it’s okay to reproduce their work. You might also notice icons for attribution noncommercial use, and/or other conditions. Visit for more information about Creative Commons.

Four circles displaying icons referenced in the paragraph. The first has the letters CC inside, the second, a silouette of a person, the third, a dollar sign with a line through the circle and the fourth an equal sign.

Printing Guidelines

  1. The Library’s 3D printer may be used only for lawful, non-commercial purposes. All designs must comply with the Library’s Acceptable Use Policy. Designs must not: Create materials prohibited by local, state, or federal law Be in violation of intellectual property rights, including copyright, patent, or trademark protection The Library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.

  2. Payment, in the form of cash or check, must be made when the job is picked up. For print jobs or job groups costing $30 or more, a 50% deposit is required before printing begins.

  3. Print jobs cannot exceed 7 hours.

  4. The Library assumes no fault if the design does not print as expected. Library staff will attempt one reprint if a job fails to print.

  5. Items printed by the Library’s 3D printer that are not picked up within 7 days will become property of the Library. Items must be picked up by the patron who ordered them, or an alternative designated by that patron.

  6. Only trained Library staff will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.

Please note that the guidelines governing the use of the Library’s 3D printer are subject to change.

Printing Costs

The baseline price for print jobs weighing 10 grams or less is $2.00.


Classic colors cost an additional 10¢ per gram after 10 grams, and specialty colors are 15¢ per gram after 10 grams.


When you submit your file(s), 3D printing staff will let you know what the cost will be.

Requesting a 3D Print Job

When you’re ready to print a file you’ve designed or downloaded, submit it as an attachment in .stl format to:

(subject line: "3D Print - [your name])


In your email, be sure to include your name, contact info, and:

  • Preferred color choice, as well as a second color choice. Filament is usually available in classic and neutral colors, and a selection of specialty colors such as glow-in-the-dark, neon, translucent, and sparkly filaments are sometimes possible. One color per file, please.


  • Size specifications, if necessary. Maximum dimensions are 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (or about 14 cm each side).


Jobs are printed in the order they are received and there are many factors that can affect the time it takes to have your job printed. We cannot guarantee any particular timeframe, but we are able to complete most jobs within a week.


We look forward to hearing from you!

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