3D Printing at the Library

The Glen Ellyn Public Library’s 3D printer creates three-dimensional plastic objects from digital designs! Members of the library can take original designs they have created and generate everything from prototypes to toys to household items.

Requirements  |  Procedures  |   3D Printer Open Labs  |  3D Printing FAQs  |  Using the 3D Printer FAQs  |  3D Printing Policy

3D Design Competition: 2016  |  3D Design Competition: 2015 Winners

3D Printer With 3D Printed Orange Fish

The Glen Ellyn Library Foundation generously donated a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer to the library in 2013.



  • The print file must be submitted in a .stl format.
  • The print object must be smaller than 11.2 L x 6.0 W x 6.1 H in inches.
    • This is our maximum dimensions, and not a printing goal.
    • Unless specific measurements are listed, we will scale print files down to a cost-efficient size.

The printer will only print an object in a single color. You may submit a preference, but the library will determine the color of the filament for printing based on availability. However, specific color requests may be considered for special projects.


  • Each print file will be reviewed by Glen Ellyn Public Library staff before it is printed.
  • The library will only print original designs, and will not print any offensive material or weapons.
  • Only one print request per person will be accepted and printed at a time.
  • Submissions by one person must not exceed one request per every two weeks.
  • Printing is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is coordinated by the Glen Ellyn Public Library staff. Priority printing is given to library programs and events.

Print jobs take an average of 2 weeks to complete. Due to the amount of time it takes to print an object, the number of requests received and staff availability, the library will not guarantee that a print job will be ready on a specific day. Those submitting print requests will be contacted when their object is available for pick up.

Send an email to the library with “3D Print” in the subject line to makerbot@gepl.org with the .stl file attached, as well as the desired dimensions of the completed object and any color preferences.

Once your submission has been received, library staff will review your 3D model for printability and appropriateness. If changes are needed, you will receive an email detailing the changes. If no changes are needed, your model will be printed and kept for pickup at the library. You can expect models to be printed in about two weeks, but printing time can vary due to class use of the printer or printer downtime.

You will receive an email letting you know it is ready for pickup. Ask at the Youth Department Information Desk for your model.

For 3D printing requests that do not meet the listed requirements, please contact the Glen Ellyn Public Library at makerbot@gepl.org for consideration.

3D Printing FAQs

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of creating a physical object based on a 3D digital model. It works by adding multiple layers of material on each other to build a shape. There are two steps to the 3D printing process. The first is the digital design portion, in which the 3D digital model is created through some sort of design software. The second is the printer portion involving the creation of the actual object. The printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2, melts plastic filament to create paper-thin layers that build professional-quality, high resolution solid objects.

Is a 3D printer a device that is practical for individual households, or is it more suited to business and industry?

Both households and business can benefit from the advantages of 3D printing. In a household, it is great for creating items that cannot easily be obtained in the stores. It is also perfect for personalized items, such as toys, jewelry and presents. In a business or industry professional-grade 3D printers are perfect for prototypes and personalization.

Why does the library offer this service?

The Glen Ellyn Public Library strives to provide access to new technologies we think will be relevant to the community. 3D printing is an ever-growing, ever-changing technology that offers a wide range of possibilities for the present, and continues to shape the future. It is important for community members of all ages to be familiar with this innovative technology, as it supports Common Core, STEAM learning, and ISTE Standards.

What type of material/filament is used?

The Makerbot Replicator 2 uses a 1.75mm PLA plastic filament. It is a cheaper plastic that biodegrades in the right circumstances.

Is the printing only available to youth?

No, everyone is welcome to print!

I’m a teacher at a Glen Ellyn school and would like my students to receive a demo. What should I do?

We would love to work with you. Contact us at makerbot@gepl.org and staff will be in touch about scheduling a visit.

I’m a Glen Ellyn business owner and would like to design a 3D print as a model for a product I’m designing.  Can I use your library’s services?

3D printing services for organizations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at makerbot@gepl.org for additional questions regarding your print.

Using The 3D Printer FAQs

How do I design my own project?

You will need access to a Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software program. The Glen Ellyn Public Library uses TinkerCAD software, a free browser based 3D modeling program, to teach members to create objects in three dimensional form. GEPL staff also teach how to use TinkerCAD during our drop-in 3D Printing Open Labs.

I found an .stl file online. Can I use that?

No. The library will only print original files submitted by the creator.