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3D Printing and Scanning: FAQs

This guide give you information on 3D printing and scanning services provided by the Radcliffe Science Library, along with links to helpful 3D printing, scanning, and modelling resources and tips.

3D Printing Services

We have relaunched our 3D printing service.

Please note that our 3D printing service is only available to members of Oxford University. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to offer printing services to external organisations, businesses or private individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is 3D Printing?

    3D printing allows you to create physical objects from computer models using a variety of materials, such as plastic, metal, and organic materials. Using a process called Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a 3D printer deposits hot plastic on to a flat plate in layers that set instantly to build up a 3D object. See the Home page for more details.
  2. What is 3D Scanning?

    3D scanning allows you to create a 3D computer model representation of a physical object. You can then use this model as a base to adjust or build upon, or to eventually 3D print. There are different ways in which 3D scanners work, some rotate small objects on a turntable to scan them, while others are handheld devices that are moved around larger objects to scan them. See the Home page for more details.
  3. Who can use the 3D printing and scanning services?

    The Radcliffe Science Library's 3D printer and scanners are available to University of Oxford students, faculty and staff to scan objects or print three-dimensional objects in plastic (PLA) under supervision and guidance from Library staff. Please note that we are unable to offer 3D printing to individuals or groups outside the University of Oxford.
  4. What can I do with the 3D printing and scanning services?

    You will be able to participate in the Bring-a-Design/Object events, where you can have a small model (that you download from Thingiverse) printed, or a small object (or yourself) scanned. If you have a special project that would benefit from 3D printing/scanning, you would like to create teaching models, or you would like to arrange a training session for your students, feel free to contact your subject librarian to discuss. See the Services page for more details.
  5. How much does it cost?

    3D scanning is free. 3D printing costs £2 for the first hour, plus £1 for each additional hour it takes to print (rounded up) up to 5 hours. For jobs longer than 5 hours, we may not be able to accommodate your prints. Please contact us for more details. 
  6. How large an object can you print?

    The maximum build volume for an Original Prusa I3 MK3 is 250 x 210 x 210 mm. The maximum build volume for the Makerbot Replicator 2 as described by the Makerbot company is 11.2" x 6" x 6.1" (285 x 153 x 155 mm). However, depending on the design, we might not be able to print it right up to the maximum. So please be aware that we may ask to print your model at a smaller scale than you would like. We do this with the goal of ensuring the best success of your print.
  7. What size object can you scan?

    Objects that are larger than a 50 x 50 mm (2 x 2 in) cylinder and  smaller than a 203 x 203 mm (8 x 8 in) cylinder.
  8. How long does it take to print an object?

    The length of time it takes for an object to print depends on its size, density, and other factors. A staff member will provide you with an estimated turn around time.
  9. Will I be able to print my own models?

    Yes, but we are not able to offer a design service at the library and cannot guarantee that a model you design will print successfully; however, if you would like to use our equipment to print or scan something for a research project or a teaching aid, please contact your subject librarian to discuss. We will be handling printing and scanning outside of our 3D printing events on a case-by-case basis


        10. What about copyright and intellectual property?

Intellectual Property (IP) laws place constraints on what you are allowed to print using the 3D printer. The box on the left column of the screen contains a link to a document which provides some guidelines on IP in relation to 3D printing and scanning.


         11. Can you design a model for me?

No, we are not equipped to provide a 3D design service, you will need to supply us with a 3D model to print as an STL or OBJ file. IT Services in Oxford teach a number of courses on using CAD software such as SketchUp and Blender. 


12. Can members of the public use the RSL 3D printing service?

No. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to take orders for 3D printing from members of the public. Our 3D printing and scanning service is available for all members of Oxford University.


13. How can I cite the RSL 3D Printing service?

If you wish to cite the RSL 3D printing service in a website or publication, you can use one of the following suggested methods.

3D Printing Service, Radcliffe Science Library. University of Oxford (2016) and/or Smith, R. and Bridle, O. (2016) 3D Printing and Scanning. Available at: (Accessed: DAY MONTH YEAR).



Intellectual Property & 3D Printing

This brief guide provides some background information and guidelines when considering how Intellectual Property (IP) laws affect 3D printing.