a branch of the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System

3D Printing

The Tahlequah Public Library is excited to offer 3D printing to our patrons. Please review the following frequently asked questions prior to submitting your print job.

Flowchart: Alternate Process: Why is the library offering 3D printing?  The library has always been a collective resource for our community by offering different types of services and technologies. From the days of typewriters to the first laser printers, public copiers and internet computers, libraries have been the place where many members of the community are introduced to new technology.  By offering 3D printing at the library we are inviting you to discover your most creative self by learning how to design objects.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: What is 3D printing? How does it work?  3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. Tahlequah Public Library’s 3D printer uses a process where plastic filament (PLA) is fed through a heated nozzle which melts the plastic. The MakerBot Replicator 3D printer uses computer-controlled motors that move the nozzle up, down, right and left to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. The object is built one layer at a time from the bottom up.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: What are some practical uses of 3D printing?  3D printing can be used for low-volume, custom or on-demand manufacturing. 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping of design concepts. Turning them  into functional, working models.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: What software is used to make 3D models?  We recommend the free, online program called Tinkercad. You can sign up for an account with just an email address. All of your work can then be saved in the .stl format needed to use the library’s MakerBot 3D printers.   Other possible programs are Sketchup, AutoDesk123D, and many many more.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: Can you help me design a 3D model?  The library’s staff will be happy to show you the basics of Tinkercad and to direct you to online resources such as Thingiverse (already made designs) however, we will not be able to help you design your model.     Flowchart: Alternate Process: How do I get a file printed?  To print a model, a .stl file will be needed. You can bring your file to us on an external hard drive or show us on the internet. Your file will be reviewed by our staff, and we will give you a qoute of how much it will cost and how long it will take to print. You may be asked to leave a deposit before we begin your print. Your file will then be added to our printing queue. For the time being, 3D printing will only be offered on a first come first serve bases. You will receive a call from our staff when your design has compled printing, and you will be able to pick it up anytime during our open hours.  Flowchart: Alternate Process: How much does it cost to print something?  3D printing pricing is based on the weight of the object in grams: .10₵ per gram.       Flowchart: Alternate Process: How long will it take for me to get my 3D printed object?  Printing is first-come, first-served. Your file will be placed in a queue in the order it was received. We do retain the right to reorder the queue based on printing times and staff availability. Printing time varies based on the size of the object. Small objects can take less than an hour, while large projects can take five or more hours.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: What colors do you offer?  We currently offer red, blue, green, yellow, black, purple, white, off white, orange, and gray.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: How big of an object can you print?  9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 inches is the largest size we can accommodate.  Flowchart: Alternate Process: What if my file doesn’t come out the way I wanted it?  The library’s staff will work with you to determine the best resolution and infill for your model. We cannot guarantee how your model will turn out, however, you are responsible for all printing costs.    Flowchart: Alternate Process: Is 3D printing safe?  The library uses MakerBot PLA filament which is a bioplastic derived from corn. It is guaranteed not to have any heavy metals, phthalates or BPA.


FREE 3D Printing Programs:

Want to make original 3D models to print on the library's 3D printer?

Tinkercad is a free 3D modeling program you can use in your browser. This means you don't even have to install the program to use it. Check out these "Getting Started" videos by Tinkercad and visit to work along with the videos. (There are links to Tinkercad on the desktop in our Tech Center) ***Remember to save your file as a .stl file if you want to 3D print at the library.


123D Design is another free 3D modeling program that will help you start making your own 3D models to print on the library's 3D printers. This program will have to be installed on your computer or you can log in to the Tech Center's computers at the Tahlequah Public Library and you'll find the program on the desktop. Here is a set of 7 basic tutorial videos that will help you get familiar with 123D Desgin. Find the free program download at:
***Remember to save your file as a .stl file if you want to 3D print at the library.



Not sure what program to use for 3D modeling? There are lots out there, from basic to advanced and free to expensive. Free software provides both basic and advanced programming. Here is a set of tutorials for the free 3D modeling program called Blender. Blender is a more advanced program. The very first video in this series, featured below, starts off explaing 3D computer graphics in general and not just the program Blender. 
Check out the two posts before this one that cover two other free programs that are a tad more simple to use. Once you get the hang of it, you can use the skills you learn within any of these programs. 
Blender can be found on any of the Tahlequah Public Library computers. It can also be downloaded for free at:
***Remember to save your file as a .stl file if you want to 3D print at the library.



All this 3D Modeling for 3D printing OVERLOAD!!! If 3D Modeling isn't really your thing, but you DO want to print some really cool models with our 3D printers at the library, then THINGIVERSE is for you. It's a free place that has a million or more models already created and shared by the designers for free. Need a pokemon figure, or one of those cool fidget gadgets, a case for your raspberry pi, star wars figures, or maybe even something basic like a towel hook. Look on Thingiverse and someone has probably already created it! The video below describes Thingiverse. and...Go here to see for yourself:


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