Submit Your File

Note: You will be notified via email when your job is completed or if we have any questions. All printed objects must be picked up at the Circulation Desk within 5 business days of printing. 

If your file is larger than 5MB, please indicate this on the submission form. 

Read below for tips on finding and creating 3D Files. 
What is 3D Printing?
3D printers use digital models to fabricate three dimensional objects one layer at a time. The process has been used in engineering and commercial settings for almost 30 years. Low cost 3D printers, do-it-yourself kits, and open source software are bringing the technology into broader use.

What equipment and materials do you use?
The UT Health Science Center Library has a Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation), located on the third floor of the Briscoe Library. Our machine prints objects up to 9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 inches in a variety of single colors.
The printer uses plant-based, recyclable PLA plastic. PLA does not contain BPA and no safety concerns have been raised about using it with food.

Who can use this service? 
The 3D print service is available for use by students, faculty, researchers, and mentors affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. During the initial testing period, print jobs will be provided for free while supplies last. In the future, there will be a charge for printing to cover the supply costs and print time. 

How often can I print? 
Submissions are limited to 3 prints per month, per  user, for non-educational and non-medical items. Any request beyond the third will be placed in a queue and held until the following month.
Preparing Your 3D File
Finding or Creating a Model
You can search for pre-existing models on the Internet to print as they are, or to modify using 3D modeling software.
  • NIH 3D Print Exchange - A collection of free 3D-printable models related to biomedical science. 
  • Thingiverse - MakerBot's searchable design library community.

You can also design your own object in any 3D modeling software. The Library does not currently provide access to 3D modeling software, but there are many free software programs available.‚Äč
  • Blender - open source 3D animation suite. Enable the 3D Printing Toolbox.
  • OpenSCAD - free software for creating solid 3D CAD models. Useful for creating models of machine parts.
  • Sketchup - comes in free or pro versions. Get the Sketchup STL from the Extension Warehouse. 
  • Tinkercad - a browser-based 3D design platform, now part of Autodesk (free version available).
  • 123D Design - a free, powerful, yet simple 3D creation and editing tool from Autodesk.

File Format
All files must be submitted as stereolithography (.stl) files.

File Naming Protocol
Please use the following naming scheme when submitting your file: lastname_firstname_modelname.stl (eg: doe_john_mystuff.stl)

Maximum size is 152 x 152 x 279 mm (6 x 6 x 11 in). Layers must be at least 0.1 mm thick (0.020 in).

The standard resolution is .2 mm per layer, with 10% infill. You can specify a different quality level by making a note under "Special Instructions" on the submission form.

Multiple Parts
If your model includes multiple parts, make each as a separate STL file. You will need to submit each file as a seperate request.

Make a Solid Design
The surface of your 3D model must be watertight. This means all faces of the object must construct one or more closed volume entities. Gaps or holes in the model will cause it to print incorrectly.
See Rhino's How do I Make a Solid Model.

Delete 2D Elements
Your final model should not contain any 2D elements, as they can cause naked edge problems. Delete any 2D elements that were used to create sweeps, lofts, or other complex shapes.

Geometry Check
Check your design for holes, gaps, or other problems before submission. Numerous third party tools can help you fix geometry problems, including:
  • NetFabb - provides a cloud base service and free downloadable software that can check you files
  • MeshLab - open source software for checking files
Shapeways offers a tutorial for fixing and repairing 3D models using these services.
Get Help
Fine Print
3D Printer Policies and Procedures
A full breakdown of our policies and procedures can be found here

Please contact Askalibrarian@uthscsa.edu

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN-276-2011-00007-C with the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library.