3D Printing

3D printers allow learning and experimentation, can inspire interest in design and making, and help bring our customer’s creations to life.


How can you use a 3D printer?  You will be able to submit files for printing through our online request form. Files will then be checked, and then sent to the customers’ nearest library for printing.

MakerBot Replicator

Our 3D printers

We have 3D printers at each of our libraries. These are Makerbot Replicator+ printers and we also have a larger TierTime x5 printer at Te Ara Ātea that can tackle bigger or more intricate jobs.

Models will be printed in a single colour. We have a variety of colours available – please provide your colour preference when requesting your 3D print here.

Our 3D printers deposit molten plastic filament (polylactic acid or PLA) in layers to build up a 3-dimensional object. Objects to be printed must be modelled in 3D software, before being prepared for printing.

Note that our PLA filament is non-toxic and biodegradable. PLA is actually created from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane.

Staff member working on 3D print


The cost for library members for a 3D Print is 20 cents per gram of non-toxic, biodegradable PLA filament. On the form please indicate the maximum amount you would wish to pay. Staff will contact you in advance if it is likely to cost more than that.

For non-library members, the cost is 30c per gram. Not a member? Library membership is free for Selwyn District residents and ratepayers.  Join here.

Creating a 3D model and getting it printed

We recommend checking out Thingiverse  Thingiverse is a design community for sharing printable things. For those people who do not have 3-D design skills.  If you want to try 3-D modelling at home, Autodesk Tinkercad is a free online app with built-in tutorials.

We need you to submit your file for printing in .stl format. It should be no larger than 15MB.  If it is too large it will not be able to be submitted.  You can compress (zip) the file if it’s too large.

Once you have modelled an object to print, use our 3D printing form to submit your .stl file for printing.  It may take up to 14 days for the print to be ready to collect, depending on the volume of requests for 3D printing that we are working through.

When a .stl file is received by the Libraries, it will be checked for “printability” by staff prior to printing. If there is a printability problem staff will contact you to explain what needs to happen.

Printing will be in a single colour. We have a variety of colours available – please provide your colour preference on the form when requesting your 3D print.

We will send you an email when the print is ready to collect.

Our policy position

The Library’s 3D printers may be used only for lawful purposes. Selwyn Libraries is only able to print material that is not:

  • Prohibited by law.
  • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. No weapons or accessories will be printed.
  • Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment.
  • In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printers should not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.

Find 3D and makerspace resources in our collection

We have a range of books and eBooks on 3D printing available.