3D Printing

3D Printing Services | Queue | Filament Recycling | 3D Printing Guidelines

The Digital Makerspace has several 3D Printers to support classroom assignments and personal creativity. We currently offer a mediated printing service, as well as a 3D Printer that can be reserved for use after a training session with our staff.

Conditions for using our 3D Printing Service


Why was my print job cancelled?
Your print job could be cancelled for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Not using your UNCW email when submitting your request.
  • Unoptimized file for 3D Printing. You may have to review your file and optimize it for 3D printing. This is a common occurrence with requests people have modelled/designed themselves.
  • Sizing error. Your print may be too large or too small to print.
  • Your print will take too long. The DMS cannot run machines outside of operating hours. Prints that exceed our open hours or staffing capacity may be declined.
  • Request specifications. Sometimes we get requests that ask for 100% infill or disproportionate scaling of models. We may contact you about questions regarding these items. We will very rarely print anything with 100% infill without confirmation from the person requesting the job. Infill is the density of the print, and can sometimes mean a very large amount of filament used. If you're not sure what infill is, don't worry—we can handle it for you.
    Unless infill is absolutely vital to your model, there is no need to input infill specifications on your model, allow the DMS to handle that for more efficient printing.


Why isn't my print job showing up in the queue?
As we work on print jobs, we will change their status to pending, approved, and printing. These changes keep it in our queue on the backend, but make them temporarily disappear from the queue displayed above. Don't worry—we're working on it! You will get email updates as your print status changes.


3D Printing Services

Our 3D Printing Service is for UNCW faculty, staff and students. Before making a print request, please estimate the cost of your print job and read over all 3D Printing guidelines.


For a more in-depth and independent 3D Printing experience, the Digital Makerspace offers a training session for anyone in the UNCW community who is interested in learning how to 3D Print themselves.  Users will be able to reserve a Prusa i3 MK3S in the public area of the DMS after going through an hour long one-on-one training session with DMS Staff.  Cost for using this printer is the same as if using our 3D Printing Service.  Book your training appointment today!

Need help with 3D Modelling?  The Digital Makerspace can help walk you through learning different 3D Modelling programs to make your perfect design.  For beginners, we recommend using TinkerCAD, a free browser-based modelling software.  Other free modelling software includes Blender, Meshmixer, and ZBrush Core Mini.

Need help finding 3D Models online?  Popular websites for finding 3D Models online include Thingiverse, Morphosource, NIH 3D Print Exchange, NASA 3D Resources, and Smithsonian 3D.

The Digital Makerspace Staff can offer additional assistance with finding, creating, and optimizing your 3D Model for printing.


Filament Recycling

The Digital Makerspace primarily uses PLA (Polylactic Acid) plastic filament.  With heat treating, this plastic can be biodegradable.  Instead, we choose to completely recycle our 3D Print failures, scraps, and supports to create new spools of filament that are perfect for drafts and prototypes.  Our unused print scraps are broken down to pieces and fed into our Filastruder and Filawinder system, which not only extrudes new filament, but winds it onto a reused spool for us as well.


3D Printing Guidelines

  • All 3D print requests must be submitted as a .STL file. Other file types will be returned for correction.
  • Please allow up to 7 days for job completion.
  • All print requests are processed in the order they are received. We cannot guarantee specific delivery times.
  • If the item is not picked up in 14 business days it will become property of Randall Library and will be recycled.
  • The cost to print is .12¢ per gram with a $1.00 minimum purchase.  Total is then rounded up for service fees to the next dollar. Payment is due upon print completion.
  • Prints can be picked up at the Digital Makerspace.
  • UNCW does not guarantee a successful print. The cost of a completed print, regardless of quality, will be still be charged.
  • All UNCW computer, network and Copyright policies apply to the use of the 3D printers.
  • You may not use the printer to create material that is:
    1. Prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
    2. Unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or poses and immediate threat to the well-being of others.
    3. Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the University environment.
    4. In violation of another’s intellectual property rights, including to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent, or trademark protection. It is the responsibility of the user to verify the eligibility of the item to be printed.
    5. Mass production of items beyond prototyping.
  • We reserve the right to refuse any 3D print request for any reason.
  • UNCW takes no responsibility for the end-use of an object once that object is printed.