Thanks to a grant from the GW Hospital Women's Board, Himmelfarb Library offers 3D printing to faculty, staff and students of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public Health, School of Nursing, MFA, and GW Hospital.
What is 3D Printing?
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, 3D printing is "the manufacturing of solid objects by the deposition of layers of material (such as plastic) in accordance with specifications that are stored and displayed in electronic form as a digital model."
Common terms used in 3D printing, as well as links to introductory materials on a wide range of topics in 3D printing.
Printers: Zortrax M200 and M200+ 3D printers
We print using Zortrax branded filaments and have a wide range of material types and colors in stock. Our most commonly used filaments include:
Z-ABS2 is our most used filament. It is useful for a wide range of applications and is relatively easy to work with. It is soluble with acetone (nail polish remover) which can be used to smooth any rough edges on the print.
Z-PLA Pro may be more appropriate for more rigid objects. It does not have any chemical solvents, so smoothing rough edges will require careful sanding or cutting.
Z-ULTRAT is an alternative to PLA Pro in many cases. It is another rigid plastic; however as an ABS-based blend it is acetone-soluble for finishing.
Less commonly used filaments in stock include:
Z-GLASS is a semi-transparent, relatively rigid filament. We currently only have it in natural transparent, although tinted varieties exist on the market.
Z-FLEX is a somewhat elastic, rubbery filament. It is currently only available in black.
Z-HIPS (high impact polystyrene) is another durable filament, used by some of our partners in Ross Hall laboratories because of its compatibility with their cell culturing processes.
Current policies about eligibility to submit print requests; types of requests that are allowed, limited, and prohibited; costs; and prioritization of requests.
Faculty, staff and students of GW SMHS, School of Nursing, and Milken Institute School of Public Health, as well as employees of GW Medical Faculty Associates and GW Hospital are eligible to use the service.
There are no limits on the number of curricular requests (those that support teaching, learning, and research, related to the core missions of the schools and institutions we serve) that may be submitted, other than the library's capacity to complete print jobs.
Eligible users may submit one non-curricular request per month.
The following categories of prints are not accepted:
Any object that is protected by copyright, trademark, or patent.
Weapons, including firearms or parts thereof.
Items that are obscene or inappropriate for the library context.
Any item that is prohibited by law or violates other GW regulations.
The following categories of prints may be limited or subject to additional restrictions:
Bulk prints of a single item or multiple items in a set.
Items requiring an excess amount of material or print time.
Items determined unlikely to be successfully printed due to structural issues or capabilities of the printer/materials available.
Himmelfarb does not charge for most 3D prints. Exceptions are noted in the detailed policy and will be clearly communicated before printing.
Requests are prioritized as follows:
Curricular requests are typically prioritized over non-curricular requests.
During times of high volume, library staff may prioritize individual requests over bulk requests, or prioritize either small or large prints to minimize idle printer time.
Otherwise, requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who can submit a print job?
The Himmelfarb 3D printing service is available to all faculty, staff and students in SMHS, SON, GWSPH, GW Hospital and MFA.
How much does it cost?
Himmelfarb does not charge for any curricular requests, which we define as 3D prints related to your teaching, learning, or research as a member of our community.
We also accept one non‐curricular request per patron, per month under the free‐to‐print policy. Additional prints may be accepted in times of low demand.
What do I need to do to submit a job?
Find a file (STL or OBJ file formats) for the object you want to print on Thingiverse, the NIH Print Exchange, or another source. Our staff may be able to help you locate a file if you are having trouble.
You may be able to design or modify your own file using Blender or other modeling software. Himmelfarb staff do not currently have 3D modeling expertise; however a wealth of tutorials and other resources can be found online, and the Gelman Library CREATE Studio may be able to assist as well.
Library staff will review the file to set printing parameters.
We may need to resize your object. The theoretical maximum dimensions for the printer are 8" x 8" x 6"; however in reality objects of this size require an excessive amount of time and material to print and are prone to failures. If we think we need to resize the object, we will reach out to you and make sure this is ok and will still meet your needs.
We will set infill density, layer thickness, and supports, and will give you an estimate as to when we think it will be ready. If there is a cost to print your object, we will give you an estimate for your approval prior to printing.
Once your item is complete, we will notify you via email and you can pick up your object from the Himmelfarb Circulation Desk.
How long will it take?
Our turnaround time varies widely (from same-day to a week or more), depending on the number of jobs in the print queue and the size of the object you are printing.
Print jobs are generally handled on a first come, first served basis, but in times of heavy volume we prioritize curricular requests before non-curricular requests. We may also prioritize shorter requests at times when this will help us optimize our use of the printers.
If you have a specific deadline for your print, please let us know. While we cannot guarantee turnaround times, we make every effort to complete your print by the time you need it. If we do not believe we can meet your deadline, we will let you know as soon as possible so you can make other arrangements.
Where can I pick up my printed object?
All completed print jobs will be available for pick up at the Circulation Desk.