3D Printing Services

3D printers are available by reservation at the Rinconada Library.

How it works

  •     Patrons can reserve 2 hour slots via the 3D Printing calendar.
  •     Bring in a 3D file to print during your reservation time (see the starter files below). 
  •     Arrive for your reservation with your file on USB or SD Card.
  •     Choose one of our limited, available colors.
  •     Staff will resize your file to comply with the 2 hour limit. See our 3D Printer Rules below.
  •     Staff will troubleshoot when necessary.
  •     You are invited to watch your object print.
  •     Your 3D print job will be removed from the printer and set aside for pickup.

Starter Projects

New to 3D printing? We recommend starting with simple projects like these:

Files can also be downloaded from 3D Object libraries, such as

You can also design your own with software like

  •     web-based TinkerCAD (available on library PC's in the Chrome web browser)
  •     SketchUp (free to download to your own computer).


3D Printer Rules

  •     Jobs should be scaled to print in under 2 hours
  •     Weapons of any kind will not be printed
  •     For more info, see our 3D Printing Policy.



What is 3D Printing? 

3D printers create objects from digital files by laying down successive layers of melted material via nozzles.

3D printing allows the rapid prototyping of design concepts. It is used in aerospace and automotive engineering as well as medical and other scientific fields. 

How much does it cost? 

3D printing is currently free during our initial pilot phase in 2016.  In the future there will be a charge to cover the cost of the material printed, just as users currently pay to cover the cost of their paper-and-ink print jobs and photocopies.

What material is used in the library’s 3D printers? 

The 3D printers use PLA (polylactic acid) filament, a biodegradable thermoplastic polymer made from plant starch. Please note that the 3D printed objects are not “food safe.” 

Why is the Palo Alto City Library offering 3D Printing? 

The Library’s mission is to connect and strengthen our diverse community through knowledge, resources, and opportunities. We inspire and nurture innovation, discovery, and delight by:

  •     Providing access to emerging, transformative and popular technologies
  •     Supporting interest in design and prototyping 
  •     Empowering people to engage in creative learning
  •     Supporting entrepreneurs, artists, students and educators. 
  •     Building technology literacy. 
  •     Serving as a community gathering place where people share knowledge. 
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2017