3D Printing

Print architectural models, toys, jewellery, and just about any object you can imagine.

Lake Mac Libraries have two 3D printers located at Cardiff Library and Belmont Library which are available for all Library members to use. You can create your own design online or download a pre-made model. 

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of creating a three dimensional object from a digital model, by building up layer upon layer of solid material.

What can I print?

From replacement parts and architectural models, to toys and jewellery, you can print just about any object you can imagine. The printer at Cardiff can build models up to 13cmx13cmx13cm. The larger printer can print up to 25cmx20cmx20cm.

Take a look at Thingiverse to see a huge range of 3D objects people have made. You can download their models and print one for yourself.

Can I make my own model?

Yes! There are many free programs that you can use to create suitable 3D models. If you’re just starting out, try TinkerCAD or Google Sketchup. Advanced users can try their hand at Blender or FreeCAD.

How long does it take?

A small, 2cm high toy robot takes around 18 minutes to print. Large objects can take several hours. The larger, more solid, and more complex an object is, the longer it takes to print. The Minecraft Creeper in the video below took approximately one hour. You will be able to see how long it’s going to take before the print job begins.

What materials can I print in?

Our 3D printer can print in ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) thermoplastic which is the same plastic as Lego. ABS is the plastic of choice for 3D Printers, as the printed parts are tough and durable, and can be used as functional end-use products.

Removal of support material is easy and safe. No dangerous chemicals are required, just break away the support that is printed in the same material but in a lower density. You can print your models in components then glue them together using nail varnish remover (Acetone).

How do I print something at the Library?

Bring your 3D model into the Library on a USB flash drive. Your model must be saved in the STL file format to be compatible with our printer. A library staff member will copy your model to a laptop, verify the model using the printer’s software, and start the print.

How much does it cost?

Use of the 3D printer is listed in Council’s Fees & Charges, this cost is currently charged at $1.30 per 10 minutes of use (incl. GST). This includes the cost of materials.