3D printers allow you to turn your ideas into physical objects. 3D prints are free for Elon students, faculty and staff.

Equipment

FormLabs 2 Ultimaker 3 and S5

3D printing FAQs

Is there a charge for 3D printing?

No, there is no cost for printing in the Maker Hub.

Can I print whatever I want?

Anything you print must follow the Maker Hub’s policies. In addition, you must abide by all applicable laws and Elon Technology’s Acceptable Usage Policy.

How can I learn to 3D print? 

See the training heading below. Unlike some of our other equipment, training is not required to use the 3D printers.

Can I print in colors?

Yes, we now stock a variety of colors in Maker Hub – Downtown.

How long does it take to print something on the 3D printer?

Longer than you expect. The final print time depends on the quality and detail of your printed object. Really small objects can print under an hour. Large complex pieces can take dozens of hours. Most projects fit somewhere in between. The printing software should provide you with a rough estimate of print time.


Training

Our 3D Printing: Getting Started training is a good introduction to 3D printing. We offer the training in two formats:

  1. Live trainings over Zoom that are led by a Maker Hub Consultant at a specific time
  2. Self-paced training on Moodle that you can take on your own time

Visit the Maker Hub’s Moodle page for information and to get started (click on the “Enroll me” button if you see it).  

How to 3D print

3D printing involves 3 things – a file (which you can design or find on the Internet), slicing that file to prepare it to 3D print (which requires software), and sending the sliced file to the 3D printers. These steps are briefly outlined below.

Cheat Sheet

For more details, read the 3D printing Cheat Sheet.

Design your 3D file

Use one of these tools to design your 3d model:

Tinkercad: free web app, signup required

  • Intuitive beginner 3D design program, suitable for small trinkets and simple designs

Fusion 360: free install for students, makers, and university employees

  • Advanced 3D CAD/CAM package, best for technical designs and machine work, supports assemblies and multiple components.

Solidworks: Free to use in the Maker Hub

  • Advanced 3D software, used in Elon’s Engineering classes.

Find a 3D file

The Internet is full of 3D files you can download and print. There are many repositories for 3D files, like:

Prepare your 3D file

Use this software to prepare your file for the 3D printer:

Cura: A free download

  • For most 3D prints, we recommend the “Normal” or “Fast” presets in Cura.

Send your 3D file to Maker Hub printers

3DPrinterOS allows you to send your 3D file to our printers from anywhere. To access it, go to www.3dprinteros.com. Click on Sign In in the upper-right corner. Click the SSO tab. Select Elon University. Login with your Elon username and password.