3D Printing

Have you ever wanted to replace a broken part, customize your own cookie cutters, or design your initial prototype? The RPL Launchpad has two UltiMaker 2+ 3D printers. If it’s your first time, be sure to get certified through our 3D Printer Orientation. To print your own custom 3D models, click on Book a 3D Printer.

What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a process of creating physical objects from digital models. Our Ultimaker 2+ printers melt PLA plastic, a non-toxic biodegradable cornstarch-based plastic, into thin layers, one on top of the other, to build a physical version of the 3D model.

Who can use the 3D printer?
Anyone with a free Richmond Public Library card can use our library’s equipment, physical collections, programs, and services. Members who wish to print their own custom designs may book one of two Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers after completing an online 3D Printer Orientation through Niche Academy. Customers younger than 12 years old should participate with the aid of their guardian. To learn more about 3D printing, visit our Learning Resources and Software page for helpful links and program tutorials on 3D printing.

3D Printer Orientation

Review RPL’s 3D printing orientation to receive your 3D printing certificate.

Learning Resources and Software

Explore additional resources about 3D printing.

Print Your Own

Learn how to print your own custom 3D designs.

3D Printers are located at the Main Brighouse Branch

Hours & Locations

Printing weapons, illegal, and obscene items or other items that contravene the library’s Code of Conduct are not allowed.
Customers agree to not infringe any person’s intellectual property rights, such as copyright, trademarks and patents, or any other rights, including privacy and publicity rights, when using the 3D printer.

Library Policies

What printers does the library have?
Richmond Public Library has two bookable Ultimaker 2+ printers.

How can I print a project with multiple files?
Please email us one project at a time. Often 3D prints will have multiple small parts that connect together. These files can be sent together. If the project is larger staff will connect with you over email to discuss the project. Once your project has been printed and picked up, you are ready to send us your next 3D project.

I am an educator. How can my class/group learn about 3D printing together?
Please Email us and we are more than happy to help setup a group session that would address your educational needs. In the past we have done class 3D modelling sessions, as well as talks and 3D printer demos. This can even be done online over video chat.

How long will my print job take?
This depends on the height, weight, and density of the model you are printing. Each 3D print is different and it often comes down to the complexity of the model and the intended use.

What are some tips for creating a good clean print?

  • Make sure you have selected the right settings for the model
  • If you are printing a figurine, miniature, household part, or objects with undercuts and/ angles please select the proper supports
  • A skirt, brim, or raft may be needed if the model has a complicated base surface
  • Try to print the model in sections if needed
  • Double check the extruder speed setting to guarantee the extruder speed is not to fast

Can I use my 3D printed model with food or drink?
There are several factors on why you should not use PLA for food or drink purposes.

  • PLA is a porous material that can trap bacteria in the small crevices of the 3D print
  • PLA filament contain additives and may not be food safe
  • PLA can emit ultrafine particles that rest on the surface of the print, which is not safe for food use
  • The library does not use a food safe extruder head
  • There is not enough evidence to support if PLA is safe for food use

If you want to use PLA to make cookie cutters, please keep mind this is only for single use. Make sure you thoroughly clean your 3D print before use. If possible, use a food safe sealant for your 3D printed cookie cutter.