Skip to main content D. Hiden Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville

The CrAFT Studio at UNC Asheville: Frequently Asked Questions

Now open on Ramsey Library's Lower Level, the CrAFT Studio is a multi-use creativity studio at the intersection of technology, creativity, and scholarship.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

3D Printing Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the 3D printers?
Our space, equipment, and services are intended for current UNC Asheville students, faculty, and staff use only. If you're a community member and interested in maker technology, check out Asheville Makers!

How much does it cost to print on the 3D printers?
The formula we use to calculate print costs is:
$2.50 per file + (volume of filament used x cost per unit) + (((time of print rounded up to the nearest quarter hour + .25) - 1) x $2.00)
Each 3D print incurs a base cost of $2.50 per file for processing and quality control. We also charge per volume of filament used on a sliding scale based on filament type. The pricing chart is available on the main 3D Printing Information website. For every hour the printer runs past the first hour, we charge $2.00 per hour.

How do you determine printing time and volume?
The slicing and rendering software we use gives us a time and volume estimate when files are loaded on. Based on testing conducted during our first year in operation, we add on an extra 15 minutes for preparation, support structures, and finishing. We use Cura (specifically Lulzbot's custom mod of Cura) as slicing software for both the PrintrBot Simple and TAZ 6, and we use PreForm for our Form 2.

How can I pay for printing?
You will receive a e-mail upon receipt of your file from the CrAFT Studio with a cost estimate. After you approve of the estimate, you will receive a second e-mail confirming that the charge is live. To pay with cash, check, or credit/debit card, the charge is applied to your library student account. Payments are accepted at the Circulation Desk on the main level of the library. Payment must be received before print jobs will be processed, and any jobs left unpaid for seven (7) days will be deleted from the queue.

Can departments pay for printing?
Yes; academic departments can, and this includes paying for student prints for classes and organizations! The point of contact with the department will receive an invoice after the print is completed. Arrangements must be made in advance; contact Amanda Glenn-Bradley for additional details. Payment is expected in a timely fashion.

How long does it take to print?
For prints using standard materials (e.g. standard filament or flexible filament); please allow at minimum two (2) business days for your print job to process during the fall and spring semesters. During high volume times (e.g. Undergraduate Research Symposium or NCUR), intersession, and summer semester, please allow at minimum five (5) business days for your print job to process.
For prints using specialized materials (e.g. dual extruded filament, or resin); please allow at minimum three (3) business days for your print job to process during the fall and spring semesters. During high volume times (e.g. Undergraduate Research Symposium or NCUR), intersession, and summer semester, please allow at minimum six (6) business days for your print job to process.

Why does it take so long to print?
This time allotment allows for a rigorous quality check process by our Studio staff, making sure that the model is of print quality, and for additional changes that might need to occur. After the model passes the quality check process, we make sure that we have enough time to run the print successfully during the studio's normal operating hours. There is a heating and cooling process for all of our printers, as well as time spent finishing the print (e.g. removing support structures). We also build in some pad time in case of a failed print. We only charge you for a successful print!

Why do specialty filaments/materials take longer?
In the case of using resin, there's a cleaning and curing process that takes at minimum 24 hours to completely harden the print. With the dual extruder, we have to change out the extruder which is a complicated process, and dual extruded prints are often longer and more complicated than their single extruded counterparts.

What file type do I need to send in?
We ask that you submit either an STL or an OBJ file for printing.

How large (in megabites) can my file be?
The maximum size the submission form can handle is 25 MB. If your file exceeds this size, you can use the link to a Google Drive iteration of the file in the submission form; please make sure that the CrAFT Studio account (craftstudio@unca.edu) has access to this file!

What dimensions/time can each printer handle?
The maximum print size of each printer is as follows:

  • Lulzbot TAZ 6: 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm (11 inches x 11 inches x 9 inches)
  • Printrbot Simple Metal: 150 mm x 150 mm x150 mm (5.9 inches x 5.9 inches x 5.9 inches)
  • FormLabs Form 2 SLA: 145 mm × 145 mm × 175 mm (5.7 inches × 5.7 inches × 6.9 inches)

For safety reasons, we will not print items that exceed the time the studio is open each day, or approximately 8 hours.

What can I print?
You are welcome to print items that you create in the CrAFT Studio, items downloaded from places like Thingiverse or Yeggi, class projects, personal projects, and much more. You cannot print material that is:

  • prohibited by local, state or federal law;
  • can be considered unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others, and as such use may violate the terms of agreement with the manufacturer;
  • or is in violation of another's intellectual property rights, copyright, patent, or trademark protection.

We reserve the right to reject any print job or scan request.

I've never made an item to 3D print! Where do I start?
That's a great question! We have iPad minis and iPad Pro tablets for use in the CrAFT Studio pre-loaded with modeling software and friendly student staff that will walk you through the design process. We also have a list of software (available often times for free!) we recommend that folks get started with.

What program should I use to create my model?
You can use a wide variety of programs to create your poster! Our crew in the CrAFT Studio has experience using the following programs:

  • Meshmixer
  • TinkerCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Autodesk Fusion 360 **available for students and educators for free
  • Autodesk 3DS **available for students and educators for free
  • Autodesk 123D Design ***Autodesk discontinued support and new downloads of their 123D series of products, but our iPads still have the program available
  • Autodesk Maya **available for students and educators for free

How can I ensure the best print quality?
Each model is quality tested layer-by-layer by our CrAFT Studio student technicians prior to providing print estimates, and you will be contacted if any issue arises during that process. There are fantastic resources out on the internet that give great tips and tricks for ensuring the best model you can possibly develop. Here's a selection of resources:

Where do I pick up finished print jobs?
After your job has printed, you will receive an e-mail, letting you know your print is available for pick-up at the CrAFT Studio on the Lower Level of the library.