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3D Printing

The Library offers 3D printing service to all HKUST students, faculty and staff. 

Watch a quick introduction (1.5 mins)


  • PLA, a bio-degradable polymer

Cost: $20 (base charge) + $1/g (material charge). For example, a model of 12g will cost $32 ($20 base charge + $12 materials charge). The base charge helps offset machine repairs and staff time.

Pickup and payment: After you are notified that your model is ready, come to the Circulation Counter to pick it up and pay. Only cash payment is accepted.

If you have any questions about this service, please contact us at



How to Print

1. Prepare your file

There are many 3D modeling software, some are available for free download. Many finished designs are also available for download at a number of sites. See the suggestions at Design Resources. Your file must be in STL format. Most 3D modeling programs save files as STL. To edit or convert your file, you can use the online tool Tinkercad.

Model size should not exceed:

25.5cm (L) x 20.5cm (W) x 20.5cm (H)

Model sizes close to the limit may be prone to failure.

2. Make an appointment

Use the booking schedule to reserve 1 session (6 hours) per day and up to 2 sessions per week.

Colors in PLA: Blue, White, Black, Green, Natural, Red.                  (single-color for each printing)
Filament colors in PLA

There are 2 appointments per day for each printer, Mondays to Fridays. At the reserved time, bring your file to the LC Help Desk. If you do not show up within 30 minutes, the time slot will be open to other users. The latest time for receiving file will be at 4:30pm.

3. Configure the Settings and Print

Using the 3D Printing Workstation, you can prepare your file for printing. You would have to decide on parameters such as object size, filling percentage and support, which affect the printing process and time, as well as the quality and weight of the model. If your build time estimate exceeds 6 hours, the request will need to be assessed further. The maximum estimated time for a job should not exceed 17 hours.

After you sign the print request form, the print job will be initiated. We recommend that you stay for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the print to make sure nothing goes wrong. If successful, a photo of your printed object will be added to the 3D Gallery.

Notes for using the Service

  1. The 3D Printing Service may not be used to infringe copyright or intellectual property right.
  2. The weight and cost of the finished model will differ somewhat from the estimates made prior to printing.
  3. Items printed on the 3D printers may have small surface defects such as bumps or holes. These routine defects will not be cause for refund or refusal to pay. Also note that while the printers are very accurate, we will not guarantee any precise tolerances on fitting of multi-part objects.
  4. If a print job fails due to any problem in the model design or the file, rather than due to hardware error, the user must still pay for the print job.
  5. Some objects (such as those with steep overhangs) require temporary support material to be printed. This material is easily removable; the user will be completely responsible for removing this material – Library staff will not remove any materials from the model for you, including support materials.
  6. The Library reserves the right to refuse any print request or cancel any print job. For example, printing of weapons or dangerous objects is not permitted.
  7. Printed objects not picked up within 14 days will be charged to the user’s account as a library fine, and the object will be recycled. The user may also be blocked from requesting another 3D printing service.
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last modified 25 April 2024