Welcome 3D Printing at CAP!

We recognize that you are faced with new projects and exciting opportunities during the semester to explore model fabrication. CAP Fab Lab is here to provide services for 3D printing and help students meet their needs and objectives. If you are looking for print submission forms of a 3D Printer, navigate above to the menu bar “3D printing” or follow the links below.

How to 3D Print at CAP

Step 1 Read about CAP’s 3D printers (below) and check out our 3D Printing Guidelines.
Step 2 Meet with a D-Fab staff member if you have not printed before! Take advantage of a Consultation Session.
Step 3 Prepare your print geometry and follow the 2022 3D Printing Checklist (see below)
Step 4 If you have printed before or a staff member requests it, submit a 3D print request online.  You will receive a confirmation email and a staff member will follow up with you to schedule your print and discuss pick up procedures.


2022 3D Printing Steps/Checklist

We are excited to help all CAP students achieve their project goals, especially during “crunch time”.  We are committed to getting all requests processed in a timely and efficient manner. To that end, we have developed some new 2022 guidelines that will help everyone in the 3D print community optimize the effectiveness of the 3D Print Lab and reduce delays. We thank you for following these checklist items! Doing so will certainly will benefit everyone that depends on these services.

Prior to submitting a request:

1. You are required to set up an initial consultation session if you have never 3D printed before.
2. Class projects and assignments that include introductory presentations by qualified faculty or CAP FabLab staff function as the required initial consultation session.

Submitting a request:
1. Access the service now request form here: Request Form
2. Download our Rhino template file and use it to plan your print project.
3. Ensure that each Mesh/NURB object can fit within build plate dimensions.
4. Ensure that each Mesh/NURB object is watertight and does not contain bad geometry.
5. Ensure that each Mesh/NURB object is properly exported in millimeter units to STL.
6. Any closed geometry greater than 2 square inches needs to be submitted as a separate STL file.
7. Any closed geometries smaller than 2 square inches can be exported as a group assuming all Mesh/NURB objects are aligned to Z-Zero.
8. Users interested in duplicate prints of the same geometry should construct a build plate (using the template file) and export the duplicate geometries as one STL file (assuming all Mesh/NURB objects are aligned to Z-Zero).
9. Submit all STL files using the guidance above. Only submit 3DM files as a reference/build plate diagram. If you submit a 3DM file, include dimension lines or text annotations to confirm scale and units of measurement. We will only print the STL files submitted as part of your 3D print request. Any Mesh/NURB objects included in the reference 3DM file, but not submitted as a STL, will be excluded.
10. We will print all STL files with brims, supports, and with a default 20% infill unless alternatives are specified in the request notes.

1. The 3D print request que has different levels of demand. Or goal is to keep students aware of demand conditions through a color code warning system. Red = High, Yellow = Medium, Green = Low.
2. During green conditions, the goal is to print requests within 2 business days of initial processing.
3. During red conditions, the goal is to print requests within 7 business days of initial processing.
4. Initial processing occurs at 11:00am during business days.
5. Expect longer delays on print request fulfillment if best practices outlined above are not met.
6. Users that consistently submit bad geometry or ignore best practices will be required to attend additional consultation sessions before resuming eligibility to request 3D print services.
7. We do not remove brim and support materials for you but you are welcome to use our tools in a reasonable manner.

3D Printing Types Available at CAP

Type Medium Machine Brands Cost Notes
FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) Plastic filament-based Ultimaker, Prusa, Creality Lower Strong, low to medium resolution, single-color prints. Larger build volumes.
SLA (Stereolithography) Liquid resin-based Formlabs Form 3 Medium Medium strength, high resolution, single-color prints. Small build volume.
(currently unavailable)
Gypsum powder-based 3D Systems (formerly ZCorp) Higher Fragile, high-resolution, multi-color prints. Medium build volume.


General Modeling Guidelines for All Printers

Keep the following items in mind as you prepare your model for printing:

  • Water tightness: Keep your volumes closed! All the printers we own determine what to print based on the boundaries of your geometry. If there is even the smallest opening in your volumes, the software does not know how to fill in the gaps. Think of your model needing to be airtight or watertight–all the edges need to be sealed.
Rhino Hint: Look in the Properties panel when you have your model selected. It should say “closed polysurface” or “closed mesh”. Sometimes problems with water tightness can be difficult to fix. Some useful commands include JoinCapPatch.

Please visit the individual pages for each type of 3D printer for guidelines specific to that type.


Scaling Geometry for Printing

Unsure if your model is scaled to appropriately for one of our machines?  Download our Rhino 3D Print Template, which includes the build volumes for each of our printers modeled as a wireframe box.  You can paste your geometry into one of these templates, which will convert your geometry to millimeters and allow you to fit it to one or more of our printers.


Useful Tools and Links

Try these tools if you are running into modeling issues that seem impossible to fix:

  • Autodesk MeshMixer – Free software that includes a number of analysis and repair tools.
  • Microsoft 3D Model Repair – Free online service that magically fixes a lot of problems. Just upload your model, wait for it to be processed, and download the repaired model.

Other resources: