What is 3D printing?

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process in which solid objects are created from various materials based on a 3D digital design. Rather than cutting away material, objects are created by printing layers of material that are combined to produce a physical object. Printing fun figurines, jewelry, or prototypes for engineers and architects can all be done on 3D printers.

One of the biggest misconceptions about 3D printing is the amount of time it takes to produce an object. It's not a quick process; for example, printing a king or queen chess piece takes nearly one hour. When thinking about 3D printing it’s important to remember prints are being created one thin layer at a time so height, depth, supports and in-fill all factor in to the final print time.

What can I print?

Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to 3D printing. The print bed is 255 x 155 x 170mm (or 10 x 6 x 6.7in), so anything larger than this would need to be printed in stages/parts.
The Way Public Library’s 3D printers and scanners may be used for lawful purposes only. Patrons are not permitted to use the Library’s 3D printers or scanners to produce materials that:

  • Violate local, state, or federal laws or regulations;
  • Look like, function as, or appear to function as weapons or parts thereof;
  • Appear unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or that otherwise pose a threat to the health or safety of others;
  • May be construed as obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment;
  • Or Potentially violate the intellectual property rights of another.

Limitations on Use

The Way Public Library’s 3D printing service is designed for rapid prototyping and patron enjoyment and creativity. This service is not intended for production or manufacturing, and the Library reserves the right to refuse to print large numbers of identical objects.

Who Can Print 3D Models at Way Public Library?

With our “Quick Print” machine, anyone at all is able to observe and receive a pre-programmed printed item (more information about this machine is listed below.)

Conversely, any patron with a library card in good standing issued by a Woodlink member library may use the Library’s 3D print services for specific files they’d like to submit. Ohio residents who do not have a library card and wish to make 3D prints should sign up for a library card. Other individuals, such as out-of-state residents, who are unable to obtain a Library card but wish to print 3D models, should speak to the technology librarian on duty. Only designated Way Public Library staff will have hands-on access to the 3D printers.

Staff members can help with the equipment and provide basic software support, but are unable to design files.

How can I use the 3D printer to print my model?

Using the 3D printer is easy and we have two ways to try printing. If you’d like to try 3D printing, but don’t have a particular file in mind you can use our “Quick Print” printer. This printer has several different models stored in its memory and they are available to print any time. We’ve selected models that print in 30 minutes or less so they can be started and collected in a modest length visit to the library. These models will be switched regularly, so be sure to check this machine on subsequent visits.

For printing your own designs, all you need is a 3D model that you have “sliced” using Dremel’s slicer software. The Way Library offers hands-on classes for this software, but it’s easily available for free online at Dremel.com/3D-software and on the libraries computers.

To request a specific 3D print you can either fill out our 3D print request form here, bring your file to the Way Library on a USB drive, or upload the file from a library computer to a provided USB drive. We will review your file and a staff member will place your file in our 3D printing queue. STL files can be exported from most 3D design software packages. Additionally, you can find models in .STL format on websites like thingiverse.com.

Print Queue

Way Public Library staff have the sole discretion to determine the order in which 3D models are printed. Patrons are limited to printing one 3D item at a time and may have only one item in the print queue at a time. If a 3D model consists of multiple separate parts, each part will constitute a single item. Because of limited staff and hardware resources, the Way Public Library cannot guarantee completion times. Library staff will contact patrons when printing is complete and patrons must pick up completed models within three weeks. If models are not picked up within three weeks following completion, then the print becomes the sole possession of the Way Public Library who may apply them in any manner it deems appropriate.

Claiming Your Prints

When your print is completed, you will be notified by the library that you have an item "On Hold" available for pick up. When you come to claim your hold from the Circulation Desk you will “checkout” the item and pay for it at that time. Questions about this process should be directed to the Technology staff.


3D printed objects may have small bumps, holes, and/or rough edges. These can be cleaned up using fine sand paper or steel wool. Objects are printed from the bottom up. If a design has a large overhang or suspended parts, support material and/or rafts may be used. These additions are easily removed by the patron. The Library will not be responsible for removing any supports and/or rafts.

Cost of 3D Printing

The cost for 3D printing is based on the weight of plastic used and is determined after printing is complete. Library staff may estimate the price prior to printing the model, but the exact price will be given to patrons after printing is complete. It costs $1.00 to start a print and $.05 a gram for filament used. This price includes any rafts/brims/supports generated by the software and failed prints due to design error.

All 3D models must be paid for in full before being released to patrons. The cost of 3D models not paid for and collected within three weeks following completion of the print will be charged as a fine against the patron’s library card. The Way Library can accept cash or credit card, but please note if paying by card the library runs a minimum charge of $5.00. If your print costs less than $5.00 the remaining balance can be applied to your library card account to use in the future for either standard computer printing or future 3D printing.

Unsuccessful Prints

Because of inherent limitations with equipment, the Way Public Library does not guarantee that any 3D model will print successfully. If a print fails due to Library staff error or hardware failure, the Library will attempt to reprint the object, and the patron will not be charged for the failed attempt, except as stated in the next paragraph. The Library may refuse to reprint the object after two unsuccessful attempts.

The Library may refuse to print 3D models that clearly contain errors or that are, as determined by Library staff, beyond the capabilities of the Library’s equipment. The cost of failed prints due to errors within the 3D model and 3D models that are beyond the equipment’s capabilities may be charged to the patron.

Check out the following websites to learn more about how you can create or find 3D Printing designs