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3D Printing FAQs

What can I print? What kinds of items cannot be printed?

The Washoe County Library System's 3D printers may only be used for lawful purposes. They cannot be used to print material that:

  • is prohibited by local, state, or federal law
  • is unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others
  • violates another’s intellectual property/copyright


What kind of 3D printers does the Library have?

  • Lulzbot Mini: Spanish Springs, Sparks
  • Lulzbot Mini 2: North Valleys, Northwest Reno, Sierra View, South Valleys
  • Lulzbot Taz 6: Downtown Reno, Incline Village


What filament colors are available?

Colors vary per branch. The library frequently has the following colors on hand: red, light blue, purple, clear, black, light green, Lulzbot green, white, and silver.


What kind of filament does the library use?

nGEN co-polyester filament by colorFabb.


Can an object be printed in multiple colors?

No. Objects are printed in just one color per file.


How long does printing take?

Even small objects can take a long time to print. The smaller the layer height, the longer it takes to print. Normally the library will be able to complete print requests in one to two weeks. Staff will print items in the order in which they are received. You will be contacted when your 3D print is ready for pickup.


What does it cost to print a 3D object?

At this time there is no charge for 3D printing. This may change in the future, and costs will be determined based on the actual cost of the amount of filament used to print your object.


How many objects can I print?

There is a limit of two objects per week per library patron.


My object has multiple parts. Should I submit them all as a single file or each as a separate file?

You should submit each part or component of your object as a separate file.


Do I need a Washoe County Library card for 3D printing?



What 3D printing software does the library use?

Cura Lulzbot Edition. This is open source software and is free for anyone to download.


What file types are supported/recommended?

Supported file formats: .stl or .obj


Can the library re-size my object for me before printing?

Library staff will print your object exactly as you submitted it. During the design process you should refine the exact dimensions before exporting as an .stl or .obj file. We recommend designing your object in millimeters for best results. If your object is too large for the printer, it will not be printed.


What are the print area dimensions?

  • Lulzbot Mini: 152 mm x 152 mm x 158 mm (6” x 6” x 6”) (at the Spanish Springs and Sparks libraries)
  • Lulzbot Mini 2: 152 mm x 152 mm x 158 mm (6” x 6” x 6”) (at the North Valleys, Northwest, Sierra View, and South Valleys libraries)
  • Taz 6: 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm (11” x 11” x 9”) (at the Downtown Reno and Incline Village libraries)


What quality of printing can I expect?

Your object will be printed at the standard layer height of .25 mm.


Can I print a solid object?

Cura prints large objects with honeycomb-type support cells inside the object. This keeps the print time, amount of filament needed, and costs minimal. Since we are not charging for printing at this time, we are not printing solid objects. Twenty percent infill is the default setting for printing.


Where can I find 3D objects to print?

Find and download 3D objects created by others. Many are free of cost:


How can I design my own 3D object?

There are lots of freely available lessons and software online. Here are a few we recommend:

  • TinkerCad The interactive lessons are perfect for the first time user! This free cloud-based 3D modeling software will have you creating your own designs in just a few lessons.
  • Blender Open source 3D creation suite.
  • Sketchup Think in 3D. draw in 3D. Start by drawing lines and shapes. Push and pull surfaces to     turn them into 3D forms. Stretch, copy, and rotate to make anything you like.
  • NCLab is another great resource for teaching yourself coding and 3D modeling. Contact your local branch for login information.


What if my 3D print doesn’t look like I thought it would?

  • Sometimes 3D designs that you make yourself need some tweaking. You can work with your design and resubmit it for printing.
  • Sometimes 3D designs that you download from the internet don’t print the way you expect. Re-visit the original website and look closely at the descriptions and photos of the object.
  • Sometimes the original design just isn’t a very good design.
  • Simplify3d has a very helpful troubleshooting guide that can help you understand why some print jobs fail.


Can I use a .png or other graphics file to do 3D printing?

Graphics files such as .jpg or .png are not recognizable in 3D modeling. Try converting these types of graphic files to an .svg file using an online converter such as Convertio. Once you have converted your file to .svg you can import it into a 3D modeling program such as TinkerCad.com. Your graphic will still need to be sliced before it can be printed. There are lots of online resources and videos that can help you.


How can I share pictures and files with the library and other patrons?

We would love to see photos posted in social media. Please share #thequadwcls, #3dprintwcls.


Are there other options in Washoe County for 3D Printing?

If you are interested in high-quality 3D printing or printing with different types of filaments, we suggest you contact the DeLaMare Library at UNR. They have a variety of 3D printers available. Printing costs vary.


Learn More or Submit a Project


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