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 3D designs may book one of two Ulitmaker 2+ 3D printers after completing the online 3D Printer Orientation on Niche Academy.
Step 1: Complete online 3D Printer Certification Module
Step 2: Email us your certificate for becoming 100% knowledgeable about RPL’s 3D Printing
Step 3: Design or download a 3D model
Step 4: Email us your file to print
Step 5: Payment and pick up
Do I pay for 3D printing?
Yes, there is a cost for 3D printing if you are taking a printed object home. There is no charge for any of our programs or to use the 3D printer stations. For our 3D printer workshops staff try hard to find software that is freely available.
Members who book a 3D printer for their own custom designs are charged 10 cents per gram for the total weight of the model, including support and raft materials. Members may also print one larger file per week. Large files are based on print time. A large file would be one that takes longer than four hours when sliced with your preferred settings, and would be printed overnight. There is an additional cost of $4 for large files. This service is only for prints that are longer than four hours.
Funds from 3D printing go towards parts and maintenance of the 3D printers and to the purchase of PLA filament.
What material does the 3D printer use to print?
The 3D printers use PLA (polylactide) plastic, which is non-toxic, recyclable, and biodegradable. It is derived from renewable resources, commonly cornstarch, in the case of Canada and the U.S.
Can I choose the color of plastic filament material for my 3D print?
Customers booking the 3D printers to print their own models can choose from the variety of colors that is in stock at the library.
What happens if I don’t pick up my finished print job?
Upon completion, the 3D print(s) will be weighted and the cost of the print will be added to your library card account. As prints cannot be held indefinitely, the 3D printed item(s) will be held at any Richmond Public Library Branch as per your request for one week awaiting pickup once you have been notified. If the item has not been picked up by the deadline, it will be disposed of and the charge for the printed item will remain on the library card until cleared.
What is the largest size model I can print?
The maximum size supported by the Ultimaker 2 printers is 230mm x 225mm x 205mm, however prints that large can be problematic. You should at least allow for a brim to be printed around the edge, and we may need to take other measures when printing (both glue stick and the heated bed can help). If you need to prints something close to the maximum size, get in touch with the RPL Launchpad staff to determine the best way to print.
It is possible to print larger than the printer size by splitting the model into multiple parts and assembling them after printing.
Can I [sand/drill/paint/etc.] my model after printing?
Yes. Not at the library, but once you get home models can be post-processed with tools, painted, and more. You can also smooth out any lines left by the printing process with a mild solvent. Be sure to use all safety precautions and to work outside if you are creating dust or fumes.