3D Printing

Click here for the 229 Prototyping Schedule

NOTICE for Spring 2020:

-The lab has introduced a new policy on toys and similar non-project prints which may be found below.

Basic rules for FDM 3D printing

  • Students and staff are allowed to print items with a volume up to 2 x 2 x 2 inch (50mm) cube, per student per week for free with material supplied by the lab (PLA Material Only). If you want to print more than the allotted amount or in a color of your preference, you will need to provide your own spool of material labeled with your name and Purdue email. Weekly limits do not combine when unused.
  • If your printing is for a class or sponsored research, we ask that students purchase their own spool. The free spools are meant for exploration and personal projects, please help us keep our internal costs down on this free service.
  • If you are providing a personal spool it must be 3mm (2.85mm) diameter Hatchbox, eSun, or Matterhackers Build Series brand regular¬†filament only. ABS is not recommended for general printing use. If you specify ABS your part may be rejected if it is deemed non-printable or if it fails more than three times. If you would like feedback on your part please come by and talk with a TA. Other brands, sizes, and material types will not be accepted. Also glow in the dark or other exotic blends will not be accepted.
    • Hatchbox PLA: Link
    • Hatchbox ABS: Link
    • eSun PLA: Link
    • eSun ABS: Link
    • Matterhackers Build Series¬†Link (Make sure you only click on 3mm filaments)
  • Personal spools must have your email written on it.
  • We only print to Polar Cloud accounts made with Purdue emails. Do not use gmail.
  • We have the right to cancel your print if it appears to be an illegal, dangerous, or inappropriate object whether it is functional or not.
  • Every print submitted must include a note of which material you want to use.
    ex: “Lab spool” OR “My PLA spool”
  • The purpose of the Bechtel Center is to mentor and train students to be self-sufficient in a technology or processes through projects. Parts considered to be toys, trinkets, or similar non-project pieces will not be accepted and printed in the lab. Exceptions to this are parts which have been designed by the member with an interest in getting to know the software used to design it, the printers used to print it, etc. or pieces supporting other work you have designed. If you believe that your print may be an exception please come speak with an on duty staff, bringing pictures/CAD or other evidence of the larger project.
  • Completed prints must be picked up within 2 weeks after completion otherwise they will be recycled.
  • Print submissions will have a maximum acceptable infill of 50%. Submissions with a greater requested infill will not be accepted.
  • We have the right to cancel your print if the above rules are not followed.
  • Prints that can be easily purchased or manufactured using other methods will be cancelled. As they can typically be made faster than via 3D printing. With our limited number of printers we try to process as many jobs as quickly as possible.

We try to print jobs in the most timely manner in the order they are submitted. Most jobs can expect a lead time of one week to complete. If your print is not completed by then please contact a lab TA.

About the printers available

Lulzbot Mini

Build volume: 152mm x 152mm x 158mm (6in x 6in x 6.2in) Dimensions are in X,Y,Z axis order

Layer height: 0.1mm-0.3mm (0.004in – 0.012in)

Lulzbot Taz 6

Build Volume: 280mm x 280mm x 250mm (11.02in x 11.02in x 9.8in) Dimensions are in X,Y,Z axis order

Layer height: 0.2mm-0.3mm (0.008in – 0.012in)

How to use the 3D printers

Create and setup your account

Creating your account

  • Go to Polar Cloud.
  • Click the “Sign In” option and login using your Purdue email via the “Office 365” option

Join the group

Once you have logged in, you will need to link to the Bechtel Center 3D printers.

This process only needs to be done once

Finding BIDC on Purdue Passport

  • Open “My Groups”. Click on “Open Groups”.

  • Click “Join” next to Bechtel Innovation Design Center.

Creating a Print Job

Upload files

Files must be in .STL format and saved in Millimeters.
Please review the video tutorials in the Additional Tutorials section below.

  • Check to make sure that files are in the correct format and units (please review how to export files in the additional tutorials section at the bottom of this page).
  • Click the “Upload” button on the home page
  • Select the file(s) that you want
  • Wait for the blue preview of the file to appear then hit the “Upload” button at the bottom
  • You should then be taken to a page with the file that you uploaded

NOTE: Objects created in NX must be in the first quadrant (postitive x, y and z)

Creating a job

From the previous step you can simply continue to the bullet list below.

Otherwise go to the “Explore” tab that the top select “Objects” then click on the file you want.

  • Make sure the file you want to print is currently open.
  • Click on the blue “3D Print” button
  • Once click the “3D Print” button you will see a pop-up with 3 printing options
  • Always select the “Send to My School” option
  • From there you will see another pop-up asking for a color, material, quantity and notes
    • For jobs using the lab material we cannot promise it will be printed in the color you ask for
    • For jobs using personal spools please select the color of your material
    • For material we still only use PLA or ABS – Lab material only uses PLA
    • If you need multiple of a part please select the quantity that you need
    • In the notes box you must specify whose material you are using so either put lab material or personal
    • The notes box is where you would also put specific print settings if you have any
      (ex: size, orientation, infill, wall thickness, layer height, etc…)
  • Once all the above notes are typed in you can select the “create” button
    If you are members of the Bechtel Center and Boilermaker Labs groups you will also need to select which group / building to send your job to


  • From there a TA will print your job.
  • You can check on your job by going to the “Make” tab and selecting “My Jobs”
  • If you see a red flag next to your job that means it was canceled and you should read the reason as to why.
  • Otherwise the Blue pencil under the “Edit” column will turn gray when your job is on the way to the printer.
  • Finished prints will appear on the cart outside of the 3D Prototyping Lab on the second floor of the Bechtel Center.

Additional Tutorials

If you want to play around with how big to scale your model or how to best orient it before printing you can do that by following the steps in the video below

Please follow the video below to properly export .STL files from Autodesk Inventor

Please follow the video below to properly export .STL files from Solidworks

For additional questions about 3D printing printing please come talk to a TA or email bidcprototype@purdue.edu