3D Printing Rules & Procedures


The Mobile Public Library has 3D printers available to patrons. These printers can be used to make three-dimensional objects using plastic filament. Printers are located at the Ben May Main Library, the West Regional Library and the Moorer/Spring Hill Branch. The 3D printing service is available to all ages.

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3D Printing Rules

  • The library’s 3D printers may be used only for lawful purposes. Patrons will not be permitted to use the library’s 3D printers to create objects that are:
    • Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
    • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous, obscene or an immediate threat to the welfare of others.
    • In violation of another’s intellectual property rights, i.e. the printers will not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
  • The library reserves the right to decline any 3D print request.
  • Although a library card is not required, patrons with a library card must have an OK status, meaning no outstanding charges, and have personal information up to date.
  • The library will charge ¢10 for every gram of filament used with a minimum total charge of $1. The amount of projected filament use will be determined prior to printing. Upon completion of print, the patron’s library account will be billed for the 3D print. A guest billing account will be used for those without library cards.
  • Patrons will have 14 days to retrieve items printed from the library 3D printers. Objects that are not picked up within that time period will become property of the library.
  • Only designated library staff and volunteers will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.
  • Facilitation of the printing process by library staff does not constitute knowledge of any intended final use of the 3D printed product.

3D Printing Procedures

  • Patrons who wish to have an object created on our 3D printers can send information about their print by following the "Request 3D Print" button below and submiting their contact information while answering initial questions about their request.
  • Patrons who request a 3D print will be contacted by a MPL staff member via email for next steps.
  • Staff will add the model to the printing queue.
  • Patrons are not required to stay for the duration of a print job. However, patrons are responsible for picking up 3D printed item within 14 days of notification that the item is complete.
  • Printing priority is based on a first-come, first served system, however priority may be given to library programs.
  • Patrons may submit only one file at a time for printing. However, for objects requiring multiple parts, more than one file will be allowed. Patrons should be aware of a longer wait time for multiple file prints.
  • Submitted files will be readied for printing on software authorized to be used with our current printer. Designated library staff will view all files in slicing software before printing.
  • Items may be picked up at the Ben May Main Library Circulation Desk, the Moorer/Spring Hill Branch Library Circulation desk, or the West Regional Library Circulation Desk. Wait time will vary based on number/size of items in print queue and other possible unforeseen issues with the 3D printer (part replacement, etc.)
  • Except in cases of mechanical failure, objects failing to fully print, errors in the print process, or other factors not in the control of the patron, patrons are expected to pay for completed objects. Patrons may not request a new print at no cost due to dissatisfaction with color, scale, quality, design, required support material, or other options pre-selected by the patron.