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3D Printing at Education Commons: Print 3D

3D print of the statue
3D print of the statute Laocoön and His Sons, back view
Yellow 3D printed castle
Green 3D printed hinged t-rex toy
3D printed figurine of Tracer from Overwatch
3D printed bust of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
3D print of Homo neanderthalensis mandible
3D print of Homo neanderthalensis mandible
green 3D printed model of the Orion Spacecraft
3D printed Demogorgon from

Printer Policy

The 3D printers at the Education Commons are available to the Penn community of students, faculty, and staff.  The 3D printing services at the Education Commons is free for both academic and non-academic projects, but all print requests are subject to the following policies:

I.  Penn Libraries reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request. No one will be permitted to use our 3D printer to create material that is:

  • Prohibited by local, state, or federal law, or by University of Pennsylvania policy.
  • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. 
  • Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment.
  • In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printer will not be used to reproduce material subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.

II.  The Education Commons prints non-academic projects for personal use by members of the Penn Community.  You may not use the service to print items you intend to sell.  If you are using the service to design a product, all members of your team must be Penn students, faculty, or staff with active PennKeys.  Under no circumstances may you use the Education Commons to print items for professional projects involving individuals or companies outside of the University of Pennsylvania.  Users who violate this policy will no longer be eligible for 3D printing services.

III. Each individual has a maximum of 80 hours of print time, up to 50 hours of which can be used for personal prints, per semester. 

IV. Only designated library staff will have hands-on access to the 3D printer. This is not a self-service facility. However, if you are interested in the process of seeing your print set up or printing, please do let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

How to print 3D@EC

What can I print? 

File Format 

To print a model on the our 3D printers, it must be exported as a Stereolithography file, with an STL extension (.stl).  Most CAD programs can save or export in this format, as can other free 3D modeling software packages, such as Sketchup Make, AutoCAD's 123D, TinkerCAD and Blender. 


The 3D model must fit within the build envelope of one of our printers:

Makerbot Replicator+: The build volume is 295 x 195 x 165 mm, and the minimum thickness of a layer is 0.1 mm. It is recommended that part thicknesses be at least 0.254 mm.

Ultimaker 3 Extended: The build volume is 215 x 215 x 300 mm, and the minimum thickness of a layer is 0.06 mm. It is recommended that part thicknesses be at least 0.254 mm.


You can print in black, brown, grey, white, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, or purple. Every now and then we stock special colors and types of filaments, so ask about them and see if there's one you're interested in!

If you'd like us to order another color for a specific reason, please email us at with your request details. Please provide advance notice for ordering processes.

Manifold or Watertight

The mesh or surface of the 3D model must be watertight and a solid. More technically, all faces of the object must construct one or more closed volume entities. When the faces are not fully closed, they produce gaps or holes in the model and those holes and gaps will keep the model from printing correctly.  

How much does it cost?


3D printing is currently available at no charge for Penn students, faculty and staff.

Submit your Model

When you are ready to submit your print request, please visit Penn Libraries' 3D Printing Page to complete the request form and submit your stl file.

After we have reviewed your file to ensure that it will print correctly, we will get back to you with an estimated printing duration and pickup time. We will do our best to print your object as soon as possible, but many people are interested in the printers and there may be delays so we appreciate your patience.