3D Printing

3D printing is available to library cardholders for free at our Marin City Library branch.

What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. Many designs are available online, or you can create your own. The 3D printer makes the object out of biodegradable plastic.

Watch a video of our 3D printer in action, opens a new window                        Watch 3D printer live stream, opens a new window

Guidelines for Using the 3D Printer

  • The maximum print time is 10 hours. If your design or print job does not fit within that time period you’ll have to make another appointment to finish the print job. To save time, we recommend that you design your print job prior to your appointment, at home or on the library computers.
  • You may have a maximum of 4 bookings every month.
  • If you need to cancel your appointment, you must cancel at least 1 day prior to the appointment.
  • You must have a current library card with a MARINet library to use the 3D printer.
  • Appointments are available for all ages.
  • Bring your design to the Marin City Library on a flashdrive, saved as an .stl file. Library staff will teach you how to use the 3D printer to get your object started. We recommend you stay for the length of your print, or check in with it periodically.
  • Please read the library’s 3D Printing Policy prior to making an appointment.

Find or Create a Design

Find a 3D design online:

Create your own design:

About 3D Printing

What is 3D printing? How does it work?

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It’s also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. Our 3D printer uses PLA (short for Polylactic Acid) filament, which is a biodegradable thermoplastic polymer made from plant starch. The filament comes on a spool and is fed through a heated nozzle which melts it. Computer-­controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of your object a layer at a time from the bottom up, and the material hardens immediately.

What are some practical uses of 3D printing?

There are many practical applications for 3D printing – ­­in aerospace and automotive engineering to prosthetics and other medical and science uses. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and functional, working models; it is used for low­-volume, custom, or on­-demand manufacturing.

Why have a 3D printer in the library?

Marin County Free Library wants to provide community access to emerging technologies such as 3D printers to inspire interest in design and help patrons bring their creations to life.

What kind of 3D printer does the library have?

  • Ultimaker 3
  • Ultimaker 2+
  • Lulzbot Mini
  • Prusa i3 MK3S & MMU2S

What kind of 3D printing filament does the library use?

We use PLA biodegradable filament for our printers. PLA has been deemed safe for general use in an enclosed environment. The filament varies in color and type. We have a variety of different types of filament:

  • Flexible
  • Wood
  • Shiny
  • UV/Color Changing
  • Transparent
  • Opaque

Please be aware that the supplies of a specific filament may run low.

Read about our 3D printer in the news:

Further Reading

3D Printing

These books and resources hope to provide a starting place for learning 3D design and how to get started with 3D printing.

3D printing at the library is currently free, thanks to WebStar funds from the Marin County Library Foundation and the Friends of the Marin City Library.


For questions about 3D printing, please call Marin City Library at 415-332-6158 during open hours.

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