3D Printing Policy

3D Printing Policy

The 3D printing request service is available to UNC Charlotte students, faculty, and staff for academic use only. The use of our services for commercial purposes is prohibited. Those who request this service must do so in compliance with all of the laws, regulations, and policies set forth by UNC Charlotte and J. Murrey Atkins Library.

For questions about the 3D printing policy and procedures or to schedule a consultation, contact Technology Support Services. Consultations are recommended for faculty who are interested in implementing 3D prints in their curriculum. Please email Technology Support Services.

Print Requests
All print requests need to be made through the 3D Print Request Form. Requests are processed in the order received.

Once your digital print file is received, library staff will determine which printer is best suited for your project.

You may choose up to five copies of the same file per request form. Copies will be identical in size, color, scale, and any other design specification defined by your digital model. If you choose to have multiple copies made, you must allow additional time for each copy. For more than five copies of the same file, fill out an additional request form.

Library staff reserves the right to decline a print request for reasons that include, but not limited to, incompatible file format, corrupt file, or oversized file or print.

Acceptable Formats
All print requests must include a digital model file. The following are the only acceptable formats for print requests:

  • .STL
  • .OBJ

If you are unsure about the format of your digital file or its compatibility with our 3D printers, consult with the Technology Support Desk before submitting a request. If your file is corrupt, too large, or otherwise unprintable, library staff will not be able to complete the print request.

User Rights and Limitations
J. Murrey Atkins Library stands behind and supports intellectual freedom and creative expression. However, the use and/or request of the 3D printer must be for lawful purposes only. The Library’s user behavior and acceptable use policies apply to all uses of the 3D printer and 3D prints. The Library prohibits any use of the 3D printer for illegal purposes, including the creation of items that are prohibited by local, state, or federal law, or by any UNC Charlotte policy. In particular, the Library prohibits use of the 3D printers to create weapons, facsimiles or replicas of weapons, parts of weapons, ammunition, or any other objects that could endanger, intimidate, or cause injury to another person. The Library reserves the right to decline any print request for any reason.

Print requests must comply with the Copyright Policy maintained by the J. Murrey Atkins Library and UNC Charlotte. This policy outlines the unlawful, restricted, and unfair use of copyrighted materials and any use that violates intellectual property rights.

Our 3D printers use PLA (polylactic acid) filament to create 3D models. You may choose from the Library’s supply of filament; we are unable to accept filament provided by patrons at this time.

We currently offer 11 different filament color options. We will attempt to maintain a consistent variety of colors available for prints; however, color options cannot be guaranteed. 

The cost of 3D printing is based on the size and amount of filament needed to print an object. Charges also factor in cost of supplies, time, labor, and maintenance. The cost for a 3D print is $0.25 per gram.* There is a minimum cost of $1.00. Rates may change without notice.

A free cost estimate is provided upon receipt of your request. You are responsible for full payment of your object. Payment is due at the time of pickup. Acceptable forms of payment include:

  • Cash
  • Credit

*Rates are subject to change without notice.

Print Quality and Reprints
Library staff will take measures to ensure that the 3D printer performs to the specifications of the file submitted. The quality of a printed object may depend on the type of digital model and/or file you choose. When using community-shared repositories, like Thingiverse, quality of digital model/file cannot be guaranteed.

In instances where the 3D print fails as a result of printer failure, library staff will reprint the object at no extra cost. However, dissatisfaction with design, size, color, quality, and/or other factors beyond the control of library staff will not qualify for a cost-free reprint.

Please be aware of the capabilities of our 3D printers to ensure the success of your project.

Print Pickup
You will receive an email once your 3D print is ready for pickup. 3D prints must be paid for and picked up at the Circulation Desk within 7 days of notification, after which the Library no longer assumes responsibility for your print. Failure to pick up your print within 7 days will result in the cost being charged to your account as a library fine.

You must present your ID in order to pick up your 3D print. Only the person that initiated the print request (via print request form) may pay for and pick up a 3D print.