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3D Printing

What is 3D printing? How does it work?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. Also called additive manufacturing, the physical model is built up one layer at a time. Our 3D printer feeds a plastic filament through a heated nozzle which melts the plastic. Computer-controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. Objects are built this way, one layer at a time, from the bottom up.

What are some practical uses of 3D printing?

There are many practical applications for 3D printing, from aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models. Additionally, it is used for low-volume, custom, or on-demand manufacturing.

What software can you use to make printable 3D models?

Many different programs can produce printable 3D models. Most 3D modeling software will output the STL file type. Some popular options include SolidWorks, Inventor, 3DS Max, Blender, Creo, AutoCAD, Rhino 3D, Sketchup and Tinkercad. For beginners, we recommend starting with Tinkercad. It is web-based, optimized for 3D printing, and easy to get started with. Free 3D printable files can be downloaded from Thingiverse.

What Equipment is Available?


  • MakerBot Replicator 2
  • Printing

Print Technology

  • Fused Deposition Modeling
  • Build Volume
  • 28.5 L x 15.3 W x 15.5 H cm
  • [11.2 x 6.0 x 6.1 in]
  • Layer Resolution
  • 100 microns [0.0039 in]
  • Positioning Precision
  • XY: 11 microns [0.0004 in]
  • Z: 2.5 microns [0.0001 in]
  • Filament Diameter
  • 1.75 mm [0.069 in]
  • Nozzle Diameter
  • 0.4 mm [0.015 in]


  • Software Bundle
  • MakerBot MakerWare
  • File Types
  • STL, OBJ, Thing
  • Operating Systems
  • Windows (7+)
  • Mac OS X (10.6+)
  • Linux (Ubuntu 12.04+)
  • Connectivity
  • USB, SD card (both included)


The MakerBot Digitizer outputs standard STL files that can be modified and improved in third-party 3D modeling programs. This is a fast and easy way to create 3D models, quickly turn the things in your world into 3D models that you can modify, improve, share, and 3D print.

With just two clicks, the MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner's easy to use, yet sophisticated software creates clean, watertight 3D models that are ready to 3D print. It has optimized the whole process to work seamlessly with MakerBot Replicator desktop 3D printers, but you get standard design files to use on the 3D printer of your choice. You don't need any design or 3D modeling skills to get started, and it all happens in just minutes. 

Who can print and scan?

The 3D printer and scanner are made available by 2014 Student Technology Fee grant funds, and as such, are available to CSU-Pueblo students only. Initially, there will be no charge for printing. When the grant-funded supplies are exhausted, a nominal charge will be assessed based on weight for cost recovery.

Printing is done on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to objects for coursework. Please allow up to 2 business days for objects to be printed. If an item is needed by a deadline, we recommend submitting it 3 days prior to the date.

How do I get my file printed?

Users will need to fill out and submit the 3D Printing Request Form along with their file. A confirmation email to the address provided will be sent to verify that the submission has been received. Once the file has been printed, staff will send another email informing the user of the completion of the job. If you have several files to print, please submit each of these separately by filling out a separate 3D Printing Request Form for each print.

All submissions are subject to approval based on scheduling and availability. There may be times that the printer is malfunctioning, being repaired, or is being used for an event or a course. During such times, the 3D printer may be unavailable for use and there will be a delay in approving submissions and printing objects. Printed objects will be kept for two weeks at the IT Help Desk. After two weeks, objects will become the property of the University Library and may be disposed of at that time. 

For more information, check the University Library 3DPrinting and Scanning Policy.

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