What is 3D Printing?

3D printers extrude layers of plastic filament in a geometric fashion to transform your digitally-designed project or keepsake from an intangible image on your computer screen into something you can hold in your hand.  You can read more about the technology and its history here or here.

Student Technology Services will print your 3D files for free, whether they be a project for class or an amusement for your desk.   Although our services are mainly to meet the needs of students who live in the university’s residential life area, if our queue allows, we can also take on projects for WUSTL students in other areas of campus.  Our team can also recommend other 3D printing areas which may be better situated to handle your project.

We have six printers — a Lulzbot Taz 5, a Printrbot Simple, a Prusa, two Creality CR10s, and (for training and demo sessions) a Mini Lulzbot Taz — which can handle most types of prints.

What can you do with 3D printing?

Take a look at some of what we’ve printed so far.  Bring us something cool to print and we’ll be glad to add your piece to the gallery!

How can you create a file for 3D printing?  Are there any files available on-line for printing?

There are many applications for creating 3D printing files these days.  Autocad, Autodesk Fusion 360, Autodesk 123D, Sketchup, and Blender are popular with the university community.  A more comprehensive list of 3D file editing tools can be found here.  You can also find already-created files for 3D printing at Thingiverse and Yeggi.

How to Submit a 3D Print Job:

  1. Visit our Gregg Storefront offices with a copy of your print job’s file, OR send the file as an attachment to student.technology@wustl.edu. The files should be .STL, .3MF, or .OBJ filetypes.
  2. Specify if this print is for a class project.
  3. Note how many pieces your print file contains, as well as the number of copies you need.  (See ‘NOTE ON COPIES’ below for more information on copies.)
  4. If you obtained your print file from an outside source like Thingiverse, supply the direct link to the download for the file.
  5. If you created the file on your own, give us the exact dimensions you wanted for the print as well as the name of the application software you used to make the file.
  6. Give us the hoped-for deadline date for the print’s completion.
  7. Note what color you would prefer. Please include several acceptable back-up color choices as well, noting your 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc.

Deadlines: 

We require a minimum two weeks in advance for class projects, however, keep in mind that jobs requiring multiple prints or parts could require even more time to complete.  Send an email to student.technology@wustl.edu to discuss your project with a member of our 3D team, to make sure you have the best chance of getting a print done in time for your deadline.

The first day we will accept print jobs for the Fall 2018 semester is September 4.  We will stop accepting projects submitted to us by November 19.

NOTE ON COPIES:  3D printing is mainly a tool for prototyping your idea.  Our printers are not for mass production of the same print.  Send a note to student.technology@wustl.edu about your needs and one of our 3D techs can recommend alternative sources for large numbers of prints.

Our Printers:

Creality 3D CR-10  Our latest printer was acquired in answer to the number of requests we’ve had for large prints. It’s been getting plenty of good press on the internet since going on sale and we’re very excited to see what this printer will do! Bed Size: 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.74 inches (30 x 30 x 40 cm).

TAZ 5  Made by Lulzbot, this printer was named “Best overall” 3D printer by Make magazine, as well as “Best Printer Under $3,000” by 3D Forged.  Bed Size:  11.7 by 10.8 by 9.8 inches (29.718 by 27.432 by 24.892 cm).

Prusa i3 Mk2  One of the latest additions to our 3D printing area, the Prusa has become quite popular in the 3D printing community world-wide and has also been recognized by Make Magazine, in 2017 winning their award for “Outstanding Open Source”, “Best Value”, and “Best Overall.”   Bed Size: 9.84 by 8.3 by 8 inches (24.9936 by 21.082 by 20.32 cm).

Printrbot Simple  Another one of our new machines, the Printrbot Simple has become a common printer to see in educational institutions as well as Makerspaces around the world and we look forward to putting it through its paces in STS.  Bed Size: 4 by 4 by 4.5 inches (10.16 by 10.16 by 11.43 cm).

Meet Our Team:

Send an email to student.technology@wustl.edu to ask a question of, or schedule time with, a member of our 3D team.  They are:

Shahd A, Marlon G, Zach O, Elizabeth O, Lucas P, Puneet S., and Jon S.

We would also be glad to schedule time for you or a small group to see the basics of 3D printing in action – from preparing a file for production, to sending it to the printer, to the final output.

Disclaimer:

STS’ primary focus for 3D printing is for class-related projects. Personal and non-academic requests will take secondary consideration and added to the print queue on a first-come first-served basis. At no time will STS print any object that could be considered offensive, dangerous or harmful to the students or the general public. In review of all print requests the following acceptable use policy serves as a guideline:

  • Request must abide by all applicable local, state and federal laws and University policies 
  • Students will not be allowed to create unsafe, harmful, or dangerous objects or those which replicate such objects, or pose an immediate threat to the well-being of persons or property. Pursuant to University policy, no weapons or life-like replicas of weapons are allowed on campus, nor may anyone produce them in the STS area. This includes parts of weapons, ammunition, and defensive as well as offensive weapons or any object which is regulated 
  • STS shall not print any obscene or otherwise inappropriate objects which they determine, in their sole discretion, are inappropriate and not conducive for a learning environment
  • STS, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to decline any print request for any reason
  • STS will not create or print any object in violation of another’s intellectual property rights related to patented, trademarked or copyrighted materials 
  • Only authorized STS staff shall have access to and use of STS 3D Printers