Skip to main content

3D Printing


How does 3D printing work?

Our printer extrudes melted ABS plastic filament to create a 3D object. It creates a support structure to make sure your item is as close to your design as possible. This support structure is later removed prior to you picking up your print request.

How are objects made?

Objects are prepared on the printer's build tray.  A print head deposits resin by moving back and forth on the X and Y-axis.  The build tray slowly moves down on the Z-axis and the material is added layer by layer, each time being cured by a UV light.  The materials are liquid photopolymer resins, which are layered by the print head in thin 16 - 30 micron layers.  This gives the designer the capability of creating extremely detailed and accurate objects.

What are the applications for 3D printing?

One can use 3D printing for designing jewelry, art, engineering design, and interior design.  In addition, 3D printings are use in the medical device industry and the aerospace industry.

3D printing allows you to go from a conceptual design on the computer to a real object quickly, accurately and affordably.  Objects that require molds to be created can now be printed for form, fit and functionality, before the final mold is created.

Do I need special software to do use the 3D printers?

The 3D print is a stereolithography file with the extension .stl. Most CAD modeling software can export a CAD model as a STL format (Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc.).  Depending on your software, you can save your file(s) as or export to an STL file.

How do I know if I have prepared my model correctly for printing?

The Student Technology Training Center staff will check all submitted parts for errors before we send them to print.

Note: We are happy to correct minor flaws; however, we cannot fix parts with large structural problems. Fixing a part with major errors will change the part, and we do not want to alter the part by assuming it should look a certain way.

Do I need an appointment to 3D print?

Yes, you must schedule an appointment due to the number of requests we receive.

What happens after I submit my file(s)?

Once we receive your email with your 3D print request one of our consultants will look at your file and fix any small issues with your model. If there is a more serious issue with a model, we will contact you about the problem.  Once the file is determined to be good to print, you will receive an email. This email will verify what you are printing and an approximate time when your print will be ready for pickup.

Who can use the printers?

Only SJSU students, staff, and faculty members are allowed to use the 3D printer.

I submitted my part but now I made changes to it. Is it too late to change my model?

If you made changes to your print request prior to your print request date, please contact STTC in order to have your file replaced. If you submitted your 3D file and you decide you no longer need the print, just send an email to or call to let us know you wish to cancel your print request.

Help! I have a question that isn’t in the FAQ!

We strive to help all our students, faculty, and staff.  For additional questions, you may send an email to, call us (408-808-2031), or simply stop in and say hello – you are always welcome here!  We are located in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 4th floor on the other side of SCS, and we're open between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.