Skip to Main Content

3D printing

A guide about where to find 3D printers and training at OSU.

Frequently Asked Questions about 3D Printing at The Valley Library

  1. How much does it cost?
    1. We charge 16 cents per gram of plastic used.  This cost is charged to your ONID account or departmental index.
    2. We were required to raise the price to a minimum of $0.16 per gram because we were considered by the university to be undercharging for the service.  This fee helps pay for all materials and covers some student labor costs.  Please email with any questions or concerns.
  2. How long will it take?
    1. It is best to allow 2 weeks.  We usually get things done within a week, but you never know if a machine will break or have other problems printing the file.  If you have extenuating circumstances, you can put that in the comments section of the form explaining why you need the part quickly.  You can also email us to check on your place in the queue at
  3. What file types do you accept?
    1. Files must be STL file type.  Most 3d modeling software has Save As or Export As STL option.
  4. How big can I make it? 
    1. Maximum print bed size is 280mm long x 280mm wide x 250mm tall, so make sure your object fits those parameters. 
  5. What does it mean when it asks for dimensions in the form?
    1. It is referring to what size the finished product should be.  This is in case you designed your object in inches or centimeters instead of millimeters, or if you want the object to be larger or smaller than the size it was designed.  We can easily scale models to desired size while keeping everything in original proportion.  If you want your object printed the size it is when opened, you don’t need to fill this out.
  6. What does Percentage of Infill mean?
    1. This refers to the amount of empty space vs. filled space inside of the object. 
    2. If your object needs to be extremely strong (for example, a replacement couch leg), choose 100% (solid).  This is also a good choice if you are going to be drilling holes through the object.
    3. See below screen shots for what the other fill percentages look like.  Green that shows is the empty space.

                   10%  15%  33%  66%

  1. What does Quality Preferred mean?
    1. This is how thick the layers the machine lays down will be.  Standard is great for almost everything.  If it is something large that you need quickly, “Fast” would be the best choice.  If you have small parts that need to fit together or have a lot of detail, choose “Slow.”
  2. What if my file is too big to attach to the form?
    1. You can email the file(s) to us at  Just make a note in the comments section of your submission saying the files have been emailed.
  3. What should I do if I have a bunch of files to print?
    1. You can put them all in a zip file and attach that to your submission.  If that is too large for the form to accept (over 5MB) you can email it to us at  Just make a note in the comments section of your submission saying the files have been emailed.
  4. How do I find files to print?
    1. If you don’t know how to make your own 3d model, you can find files that have already been created and made available to all online.  Here are some of the most popular sites to find them:
  5. How do I create 3d files?
    1. Information on various 3d printing software available here
    2. Links to online tutorials and training here
    3. Library 3d printing staff are not trained on 3d modeling, but can help with making sure your design is printable and possibly help with some troubleshooting.  Just email us at
  6. Why don't you print with ABS?
    1. For the health and safety of everyone in the library! 
    2. Printing with PLA using a 3D printer released 20 billion particles per minute (p/min), whereas printing with ABS released 200 billion p/min. The 10-fold increase in the number of particles was attributed to the high melting temperature of ABS and requirement of a heated bed. ABS produces a distinctive smell when heated, causing headaches and respiratory and eye irritation in sensitive people. Some studies showed that ABS fumes are toxic to rats and mice: “There is a good chance that ABS-fed 3D printers may be more harmful than PLA-fed printers due to both higher emissions and likely higher toxicity.”

3D Printing launched at the Valley Library on 3/31/2014. No tuition money was used to purchase the printers. 3D Printers at the Valley Library are open to all OSU student, faculty, and staff. 

About PLA Plastic

All other plastics not included in the other categories and mixes of plastics 1 through 6 are labeled with a 7, including compact discs, computer cases, BPA-containing produces, and some baby bottles.

Image result for plastic 7

PLA (polymer polylactide) is a plastic made from plants (usually corn or sugarcane) this is also labeled with a 7. PLA plastics don’t contain BPA; no safety concerns have been raised about using PLA plastic with food. Right now, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a PLA no. 7 plastic and a BPA-containing no.7 plastic. Some PLA plastics may also say “PLA” near the recycling symbol. Others may have a leave symbol near the recycling symbol.

To clear up any confusion, the manufacturers of PLA plastic are working with the American Society for Testing and Materials International, a global group that develops standards, to create a new recycling numbering system that would give PLA plastic its own number.

Do NOT cook food in no. 7 plastics that aren’t PLA and avoid using non-PLA no. 7 plastics around any type of food.

Source:, accessed 04/10/2014


Here are some interesting links about PLA and other plastics below: