Open 2 - 8PM daily
Closed March 8-16 for Spring Break (available by appointment only--email us to schedule a time)
If you have questions or for more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the Makerspace?
The Hunt Library Makerspace supports students, faculty, and staff in learning about emerging technologies and bringing their creations to life. The space has two 3D printers and a laser cutter for rapid prototyping of designs. What will you make?
Access & Costs
Makerspace services are available to all current NCSU students, faculty, and staff. The service costs are:
- uPrint 3D Printer: $10 per cubic inch of material, with a $5 minimum
- MakerBot 3D Printer: $0.35 per gram of material, with a $5 minimum
- Epilog Laser Cutter: $5 per 15 minutes of appointment time, with a $10 minimum
- NextEngine 3D Scanner: Free for use; to access, reserve Green Screen Production Studio (room 4217)
- Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 3D Sensor: Free for use; can be checked out for up to 3 days from the Ask Us center
- MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner: Free for use; visit us in the Makerspace for a 3D scan
We can determine costs for you before 3D printing or laser cutting. Payment is by credit/debit card only, unless you are charging to a departmental account.
If you need to charge your 3D printing to a departmental account, please bring the following information: Department, Project ID number (formerly called FAS number), and Bookkeeper's name, phone number, and email. Please note that we cannot charge to grant accounts, which have Project ID numbers starting with a 5.
Stratasys uPrint SE Plus
- Professional-level 3D Printer
- Prints in ABSplus thermoplastic
- More precise, higher-quality models; uses a soluble support material
- Build size: 8 x 8 x 6 in. (203 x 203 x 152 mm)
- Manufacturer's details at http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/idea-series/uprint-se-plus
- See our 3D Printing FAQ below for more info
- Bring your file (.STL format) into the Makerspace to print!
MakerBot Replicator 2
- Consumer-level 3D Printer
- Prints in PLA (polylactic acid) bioplastic
- Prints support in same material as model
- Build size: 11.2 x 6 x 6.1 in. (285 x 153 x 155 mm)
- Manufacturer's details at store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html
- See our 3D Printing FAQ below for more info
- Bring your file (.STL format) into the Makerspace to print!
Epilog Zing 24 Laser
- Laser Cutting and Engraving System
- Works with Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw
- Manufacturer's details at www.epiloglaser.com/zing_techspecs.htm
- Cutting area: 12" x 24"
- Materials available: Plywood, Cardboard, Acrylic, and more
- See our Laser Cutter FAQ below for more info
- Machine operated by staff only--make an appointment to use.
NextEngine 3D Scanner HD
- Full color, high resolution professional 3D scanner
- Uses NextEngine HD PRO software
- Can produce 3D-printable models
- Manufacturer's details at www.nextengine.com
- Permanently set up in Hunt Library Media Production Studio room 4217
- To use, reserve this studio at www.lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary/reservearoom
Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 3D Sensor
- Accurate, robust 3D sensing for use in many applications
- Can be checked out for 3 days at the Ask Us center
- Combined with software, can work as a 3D scanner
- Skanect Pro is available on the Mac in Hunt Media Production Studio 4217 (reservation required)
- Or, install 3D scan software on your own computer (Skanect, ReconstructMe, Scenect)
- Manufacturer's details at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/kinect
MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner
- Consumer-level 3D scanner optimized for 3D printing
- Quick scans but not the highest resolution
- Does not scan color data
- Manufacturer's details at http://store.makerbot.com/digitizer.html
- Set up in the Makerspace--bring your object by to have it scanned!
3D Printing FAQ
What is 3D printing? How does it work?
3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. Both of our 3D printers use a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), in which a plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle which melts the plastic. Computer-controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. The object is built this way, one layer at a time, from the bottom up.
What are some practical uses of 3D printing?
There are a multitude of practical applications for 3D printing, from aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models; it is used for low-volume, custom, or on-demand manufacturing.
What software can you use to make printable 3D models?
There are many different programs that can produce printable 3D models. Most 3D modeling software will output the filetype our machines use, the .stl file. Solid modeling CAD software is much more likely to produce a successful print than surface modeling software. A few popular options are SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor, 3DS Max, Creo, Blender, Rhino 3D, Sketchup and Tinkercad. Information on software available to students and staff can be found at software.ncsu.edu and www.eos.ncsu.edu/software
For beginners, we recommend starting with Tinkercad. It is web-based, optimized for 3D printing, and easy to get started with. For a free account, you can join the NCSU Libraries Tinkercad team using this link: http://go.ncsu.edu/tinkercad
How do I get my file printed?
To print a model, please bring your file (in .STL file format) to the Makerspace during our open hours. We’ll help you decide which machine to use, tell you how much it will cost, and estimate how long it will take to print your model. Once you pay the printing cost, we'll add your model to our printing queue.
What are the differences between the two 3D printers?
They use the same basic process, but there are some major differences between the uPrint and the MakerBot. They print in different materials, which have different qualities. The uPrint is more accurate and reliable, and produces a higher quality model. Printing on the uPrint costs about twice as much as printing on the MakerBot.
How detailed can the 3D printers get?
The uPrint produces layers which are .254 mm (.010 in) thick. The MakerBot is comparable, and can even produce layers down to 100 microns (0.0039 in) thin, but it is not as accurate, particularly for larger models.
How strong is the 3D printed material?
Both machines produce hard plastic models which are suitable for working parts and functional prototypes. More information on the materials (ABSplus on the uPrint, PLA on the MakerBot) can be obtained in the Makerspace.
How big of an object can you 3D print?
The uPrint build volume is 8" x 8" x 6", the MakerBot's is 11.2" x 6" x 6.1".
Is this 3D printing technology brand new?
No, the technology has been around for over 20 years. The machines would typically be found in engineering and design firms. However, there is a lot of excitement around 3D printing now, because it is becoming more accessible to average people. This is due in large part to the pioneering open-source RepRap Project, and to startups like MakerBot Industries and Shapeways.
Is the library the first place at NCSU to have 3D printers?
No, we are not, but we are the first to offer 3D printing services to all NCSU students, faculty, and staff.
Are these services available to Centennial Campus Affiliates?
Yes. As of Fall 2013, Centennial Campus Affiliates can use our 3D printing service. They will need a Wolfpack One (AllCampus) card for ID purposes, and can pay with any credit or debit card. They do not need an NCSU email address to print.
What if I need to 3D print with higher resolution, faster turnaround time, or different materials?
Laser Cutter FAQ
When will the laser cutter be available for use?
It is available now, in beta mode. Please be patient as we work the kinks out with this service. If you would like to have something cut or engraved, please make an appointment using our online form.
What is a laser cutter? How does it work?
A laser cutter is a machine that can cut and etch materials quickly and with high precision. It works by directing the output of a high-power laser, controlled by computer, at the material to be cut. The material then either melts, burns, or vaporizes away, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish.
What are some practical uses of a laser cutter?
Laser cutters have broad applications for model-making, architecture, sculpture, graphic design, and more. They are uniquely suited to rapid prototyping and custom fabrication, enabling quick production of models and parts that would otherwise be very time-consuming or impossible to produce.
What kind of software and files can you use with the laser cutter?
We use Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator to send files to the laser cutter. You can work in these programs to produce your files, or you can bring image files or text and we can arrange them in Corel Draw in the Makerspace. Pretty much anything you can print can be etched with the laser cutter.
We are still working on our file guidelines for this service. For now, please refer to these external tutorials:
Is the laser cutter safe?
The laser is very safe, particularly for the following reasons:
- The laser is secured with interlock devices so it will not run with the doors of the system open.
- The laser exhaust is sent to an external filtration system (a Fumex FA-2) where passes through a series of three filters including a HEPA filter.
- The laser is only operated by trained library staff.
- Only materials sourced by the library and verified as safe for laser use are used in the laser cutter.
How do I get my file cut or etched?
To use our laser cutter service, you will need to make an appointment. Before your appointment, please:
- Get your file(s) ready before you come in for your appointment. If you have questions, feel free to send us an email.
- Think about what material you would like to use. At the moment, we can only cut or etch materials which we have sourced, so you will have to purchase material from us.
During your appointment with library staff, we will open your file, confirm that your file suits what you want to do with the laser cutter, and help edit your file as necessary. We’ll help you decide which material to use, and then cut or etch it with your file.
What materials do you offer for laser cutting?
We currently offer the following materials.
In 12”x24” sheets:
- 1/8" thick Wood Fiberboard (more info) for $6/sheet
- 1/4" Wood Fiberboard (more info) for $8/sheet
- 1/4" Birch Plywood (more info) for $6/sheet
- 1/16" Clear Acrylic (more info) for $10/sheet
- 1/8" Clear Acrylic (more info) for $17/sheet
- 1/8" Black Acrylic (more info) for $14/sheet
- 1/4" Clear Acrylic (more info) for $28/sheet
- 1/8" Black Designer Felt (more info) for $26/sheet
- Bamboo Plywood: 12" x 12" x 1/4" (more info) for $15/sheet
- Natural Cork: 11 7/8" x 11 7/8" x 1/4" (more info) for $5.50/sheet
How does the payment work?
You will be charged for the amount of time of your appointment, plus the cost of the material you choose to cut or etch. Appointment time is $5 per 15 minutes of appointment time, with a $10 minimum. Material prices are listed above. So, for example, a cutting project using one sheet of acrylic that took 45 minutes would cost $17 + $15 = $32 total. We process payment through the WolfPrint/AllCampus system.
Is the library the first place at NCSU to have a laser cutter?
No, we are not, but we are the first to offer laser cutting services to all NCSU students, faculty, and staff.
Is the laser cutter service available to Centennial Campus Affiliates?
Not currently, but please let us know if this is a service you would like access to. We recommend Ponoko (online) as an alternative provider for laser cutting.