3D Printer Policy and Procedure


The Library desires to offer community access to new and emerging technologies such as 3D printers to inspire a new interest in design and help the community to bring their creations to life. This policy establishes how and under what circumstances the public may use the Library’s 3D printers.

See the current status of our Makerspaces here.


The Library’s 3D printers are available to the public to make three-dimensional objects in plastic using a design that is uploaded from a digital computer file.
  1. The Library’s 3D printers may be used only for lawful purposes. The public will not be permitted to use the Library’s 3D printers to create material that is:
    1. Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
    2. Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. (Such use may violate the terms of use of the manufacturer.)
    3. Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment.
    4. In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printers will not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
  2. The Library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.
  3. Cost: 3D printing at the Library is currently free, thanks to a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. It is anticipated that a fee will be charged in the future to cover the printing costs upon expiration of the grant.
  4. Items printed from Library 3D printers that are not picked up within 7 days will become property of the Library. Items must be picked up by the individual who printed them.
  5. Only designated Library staff and volunteers will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.


The procedure for printing from the Library’s 3D printers is as follows:
  1. Design creation:
    1. The 3D printer can be used with basic knowledge of Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD). Creating a new design requires an advanced knowledge of 3D modeling software products. Video tutorials that accompany CAD programs can be of assistance.
    2. Any 3D drafting software may be used to create a design as long as the file can be saved in .stl, .obj, or .thing file format.
    3. The Library has computers with AutoCAD and Photoshop software that may be used to create a design.
    4. Digital designs also are available from various file-sharing databases such as Thingiverse.com.
  2. Submitting a design for printing:
    1. Persons wanting to use the 3D printer shall bring their file (in .stl, .obj, or .thing file format) (no larger than 25MB) to the DesignSpot during open hours. Staff will add the model to the printing queue.
    2. If there is high demand, the Library will schedule only one print per day per person or entity.
    3. The files will be readied for printing in MakerWare or other authorized software. The Library will view all files in MakerWare or other authorized software before printing.
    4. Wait/pickup time: Items may be picked up at the DesignSpot. It is sometimes difficult to estimate exact print times. Library staff will make an educated guess about the length of a job upon request.
  3. Please note that procedures governing the use of the Library’s 3D printers are subject to change.


  • 3D printing: the process of making a physical object from a digital model.
  • 3D Printer: A 3D printer uses melted plastic to produce objects designed on a computer.
  • CAD: Computer Assisted Drawing

Board Approved: August 22, 2013