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3D Printing @UofMLibraries

Guide to the 3D Printing Lab at the University of Memphis

Attach Smart Extruder

The Makerbot Smart Extruder is easy to work with.  After checking out the extruder from the circulation desk, attach the 16 copper colored male leads to the docking bay and it will automatically hold magnetically.  You can then select Attach Extruder from the menu and it will snap into place.  To remove the extruder, wait for it to cool and then simply pull it off of the docking bay. Please note extruder scan reach temperatures 215°F or more.

Steps to Print

Participate in required training

  • In order to use the 3D Printer Lab at the University of Memphis Libraries, you must attend at least one 3D training session. You can find workshop times and sign up here.
  • If you have a large group or class in need of instruction, please email Casey Parkman.

Schedule lab time

  • The lab printers are designed for general student use. Instructors and faculty may use the printers only for classroom instruction.
  • Printers may be reserved for up to 4 hours per week  Monday-Sunday (an average small print job takes ~90 minutes). 
  • One printer may be allowed to leave the printer lab at a time for instruction purposes within the library. This must be scheduled as a 4 hour block.
  • To reserve the lab, please use the calendar scheduler here 

Prepare your file

  • Check that your model is optimized for 3D printing. Most programs either feature this option or offer a plugin that will run a check for structural integrity. If yours doesn't, we recommend downloading Meshlab, an open-source program for processing 3D models.
  • Save or export from your modeling program as either an .stl or .obj file. If your program doesn’t offer either format, there are a number of free options, such as Meshlab, or the Autodesk Print Utility plugin for 123D Catch, 123D Design and 123D Make.
  • Use this format for naming your file: lastname_firstname-modelname  (ex: kennedy_hilary-ksulibrary)

While file is printing

  • Students are encouraged to stay in the lab during the printing process. Computers and wireless service are provided. If you must leave, please inform library staff that you have left. 
  • If the printer malfunctions, follow the troubleshooting basics provided. DO NOT OPEN THE CASING OR TOUCH THE PRINT NOZZLE. If this is the solution to the problem, contact library staff or volunteers. 

After printing

  • Use the tools in the room to remove any scaffolding or excess filament from your print job. Please place all excess filament in the recycling bin in the lab, and make sure the area around the printers is clean.
  • If you would like your work showcased on the University Libraries website, please send a .jpg, .gif, or.png image file to