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3D Printing FAQs

What is 3D printing?

3D printers build physical objects from a digital model, layer by layer.

Which 3D printer does the Library have?

The printer models at HKUST Library is Tiertime Up Box. It uses PLA filament, a bio-degradable polymer. It supports single-color building; you may choose a color from what is available at the Library.

What software do I need to make a 3D design?

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. Either you make your own design, or download one from a site, make sure it is a .stl file.

Can the printer build any design I have?

Not all models come out exactly as the design. Usually objects having overhangs, i.e. parts suspending in mid-air, may not turn out as well as those with less hanging parts. Other factors that may lead to printing failure include the complexity of the design, error during the design process, or inappropriate type of build material.

What is the 3D Print made of?

The Library’s 3D Printers use PLA plastic. PLA is a bio-degradable type of plastic that is manufactured out of plant-based resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. For further information, check the Wikipedia entry for Polylactic acid.

Can I choose the color?

Yes. The library currently has several colors available. Check the service information.

Can I choose more than one color?

No. Our printers print in one color at a time.

How long does it take to print a model?

The build time depends on the object size, design, and complexity. It may take 30 minutes for a simple and small object, and a few hours for a bigger one.

Is there any size limit?

Yes. Your model cannot exceed these dimensions: 25.5cm (L) x 20.5cm (W) x 20.5cm (H)

Do I need to be present the whole time while my model is printing?

No. We recommend that you stay for the beginning of the print.

What if an error occurs during printing?

You would need to reschedule for another appointment. If it is an error of the design or the file itself, you would need to pay the printing charge even though the object is not complete.

What if I do not pick up my model?

If you do not pick it up within 14 days, the cost will be charged to your account as a library fine. You will not be allowed to make another 3D printing request.

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last modified 23 June 2020