Access to free or low cost 3D printed parts

With the return to school in VR mode, lots of beginning engineers and designers are taking CAD classes, but don’t have a way to have the part printed.

In my area the New Castle County Library and Innovation Center in New Castle DE will print parts (up to a 5 hour print time) for free and send it to one of 13 local libraries for you to pick up.

This also means that all of the VRC teams in Northern Delaware have access to free 3D parts. One of RECF big issue is not all teams have access to 3D printers.

So question for you is "Is there access to free or low cost (i.e. Materials charge) 3D prints in your area. If so, post the location, cost and limits.

New Castle County DE, free with a free library card, limit to a 5 hour print.

No need to post if there isn’t one you know of, I’d like to keep this thread about places to use. I’ll try to consolidate the list at the end of the month.


HeatSyncLabs, a makerspace in Mesa, Arizona.

Free and open to the public during open hours.

I don’t know all the details about their 3D printing since I’ve never taken advantage of it, but they have both an Ultimaker 3 and another desktop 3D printer (don’t recall which). I recall being told that they stock cheap filament that is free to use, and you bring your own filament if you want something nicer.

No hard limit on print time or anything (I don’t think, anyway). But it is a makerspace, so everything basically operates on the basis of being mindful of others and not hogging any of the machines or equipment for too long.


Our school (Timber Creek HS) has a 3D printer that students have free access to


My school (Roosevelt H.S. in Sioux Falls, SD) has a 3D printer that you can use but you have to bring your own filament for “personal projects”


Our local library will print anything for free


Is there any in Gerogia???

There is the salt lake city makerspace which is where i go. You have to buy a membership to get in tho


I think that the membership is 60 bucks for a year, I will have to ask my dad when I get home as i am writing this at school. You can buy printer plastic there but you can also bring your own.


A couple of opportunities I know about for teams in WV:

If your student group schedules and attends a virtual 3D printing/CAD workshop from the NASA IV&V Education Resource Center, you can send us a model of your choice which we will print in our lab and mail to you (within reasonable limits, we have a lot of filament but not an infinite supply). There is no charge for the workshop or the printing.

If you’re in WV and interested in doing this, send me a PM and I can pass along more info.

Team SQL has collaborated with the Maker Vault at the Robert C Byrd Institute in Huntington. The maker vault is a makerspace, but gets extra coolness points for being located in a decommissioned bank vault. Membership is $14/month for students and educators. There is some filament generally available for small projects, people who use a lot of materials should bring their own. They’re open to the public during normal business hours, though I’m not sure how their public availability has been impacted by COVID.

I know there are makerspaces in other cities in WV too, but I’m not familiar with their pricing or policies.


I’m very new to all of this, but I’m slowly getting it figured out.

I recently inherited two older MakerBot Replicator II 3-d printers from our high school engineering department. I’d like to print out some gears for my classroom students (including virtuals at home) to have to use in gear rations/gear trains lessons, then to either just keep, or return for me to sanitize.

Problem is, I can’t find any decent gear files. I’ve found some online in Thingiverse, and have downloaded the VEX gears CAD files, and converted them to .stl files, but when I try to print any of these, I get a bird’s nest mess. I don’t think it’s the printer, adjustments, or filament, because I CAN successfully print other things on the same printers.

Can anyone help me out with either some gears files, or some good advice on how to fix whatever is going wrong/



I have a gear file on my forum thread: Customizable Gear for VexU and VAIC

Using the tutorial found on my thread you can generate any size gear.
Please note however these are not optimized for 3d printing, you will have to either enable support when printing or modify the gear in inventor before converting to an stl.
I suggest slicing the gear in half so one side is completely flat, this will ensure the gear prints smoothly and correct without needed supports.

What is probably happening when you try to print the vex gears is you either do not have support enabled or the support settings are incorrect, which leads to the printer trying to print over air which it cannot do for large flat surfaces.


Thanks for this, but my robotics class has ended for the year (fall semester), and the VEXcode virtual robot course was exactly enough to get us thru - we finished the final unit on the last day of instruction - couldn’t have worked out better!

Bottom line, I won’t be needing to do this this year, and if I find myself needing it in the future - I’ll have my 7th graders, who start Design and Modeling next week - work them up for me on TinkerCad, which is what we’ll be using in class, per PLTW.

Thanks again!