3D Printer Policy


In keeping with our Mission to create connections for our community to explore, imagine and innovate, and our goal to be a positive environment for mobile and digital literacy the Marin County Free Library strives to offer community access to new and emerging technologies such as 3D scanners and printers. This policy establishes how and under what circumstances the public may use the Library's 3D printers and 3D scanner.


The Library's 3D printers are available to the public to make three-dimensional objects in plastic using a design that is uploaded from a digital computer file.

I. The Library's 3D printers may be used only for lawful purposes. The public will not be permitted to use the Library's 3D printers to create material that is:
a. Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
b. Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. (Such use may violate the terms of use of the manufacturer.)
c. Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment.
d. In violation of another's intellectual property rights. For example, the printers will not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.

II. The Library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.

III. Cost: 3D printing at the Library is currently free, thanks to support from the Marin County Free Library Foundation and the Friends of the Marin City Library.

IV. Items printed from Library 3D printers that are not picked up within 7 days will become property of the Library. Items must be picked up by the individual who printed them.

V. Only designated Library staff and volunteers will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.

VI. The Library is not liable for any malfunctions or misprints.

VII. You must be present at your 3D printing appointment. Library staff will teach you how to use the 3D printer to get your object started. To learn how to create designs, we can provide you with a list of helpful tutorials. We do recommend you either stay for the length of your print, or check in with your print periodically.


The procedure for printing from the Library's 3D printers is as follows:

I. Design creation:
a. Creating a new design requires an advanced knowledge of 3D modeling software products. Video tutorials that accompany CAD programs can be of assistance.
b. Any 3D drafting software may be used to create a design as long as the file can be saved in .stl, .obj, or .thing file format.
c. Digital designs also are available from various repositories such as Thingiverse.com.

II. Make a printing appointment on the Library's calendar.
a. Persons wanting to use the 3D printer shall bring their file (in .stl, .obj, or.thing file format) (no larger than 25 MB).
b. If there is high demand, the Library will schedule only one print per day per person.
c. The Library will view all files in MakerWare or other authorized software before printing.
d. Wait/pickup time: Items may be picked up at the Marin City Library front desk. It is sometimes difficult to estimate exact print times. Library staff will make an educated guess about the length of a job upon request.

III. Please note that the procedures for the use of the Library's 3D printers are subject to change.


  • 3D printing: the process of making a physical object from a digital model.
  • 3D printer: a 3D printer uses melted plastic to produce objects designed on a computer.
  • CAD: Computer Assisted Drawing

October 23, 2014

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