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3D Printing: Software

This guide will assist patrons who plan to use the 3D printing available in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC).

Getting Started

Once you have created or downloaded an .stl file, you will need to use the Cura Software to prepare your print i.e. the orientation on the plate, the size.

  • Take a look the list of different Design Software available for free to create your design
  • Once you have a file, download the Cura Printing software to prep your design for printing.

Screen Capture of Cura Printing Profiles 

Looking for inspiration? Be sure to check out the 3D Model Gallery to explore different collections.

Library Policy on Use of 3D Printers

Individuals who use the library's 3D printers must comply with Purdue University and Libraries policies.

Specifically, the libraries' printers may not be used to create material that is:

  • Prohibited by local, state, or federal law

  • Prohibited by University Policy

  • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others

  • Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the library environment

  • In violation of intellectual property rights.

The library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print/scan request.

Design Software

To create your own designs you have quite a few different options in design software. All of the following programs are free for you to use to create 3D models. Looking for inspiration? Be sure to check out the 3D Model Gallery below to explore premade designs.

  • AutoCAD
    • Currently available on ITaP computers.
  • TinkerCAD
    • A web-based program fo the beginner.
  • Blender
    • Blender is a powerful, free, open source tool for creating 3D animation and models for 3D printing.
  • SketchUp Make
    •  Make Marketed for ‘hobbyists, kids and backyard spaceship builders,’ Sketchup is user-friendly and forgiving. Ideal for novices. Also comes in a paid Pro version.
  • OpenSCAD
    • Ideal for creating solid 3D CAD models. Great for models of machine parts.
  • Mathematica (Wolfram Language)
    • Currently available on ITaP computers. Geometric models suitable for printing can be generated from a variety of plot functions, directly from curated collections, or imported from files and URLs, as well as from geometric regions. Several tools provide utilities for analyzing, repairing, and adjusting models.

3D Model Gallery

If you're just looking for inspiration or want to explore the possibilities of 3D printing check out the following collections with downloadable 3D model designs.‚Äč

  • Thingiverse - Thingiverse is a community dedicated to sharing 3D designs.


    • Thingiverse has hundreds of user-submitted designs organized in categories and collections including Art, Gadgets, Learning, Tools and Fashion that are free to download.

If you do choose to use a downloaded file, be sure to read through the Helpful Hints section above to make sure your design is printer-friendly prior to printing.

Helpful Hints Before You Print


  • Make sure your design fits on the print plate (11"x11"x9.8"), & is within the size limitations (50 grams per print).
  • To keep the amount of material down, you can scale down your object.
  • For more questions check out the Frequently Asked Questions tab.

3D Printing Hours

Wilmeth Active Learning Center

Maker Space within DVELoP (Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue)

Library of Engineering & Science Reference Desk 765-494-0831

Available 3D Printing Hours

Monday - Thursday

8:00am - 11:00pm


8:00am - 11:00pm


11:00am - 11:00pm


11:00am - 11:00pm

Have Questions?

Email us at with any questions you may have!