3D Printer Policy and Procedure


Christchurch City Libraries provides the community with access to new and emerging technologies and equipment such as 3D printers to inspire interest in design and bring customers creations to life. This policy establishes how and under what circumstances the public may access the Christchurch City Libraries 3D Modelling software and 3D Printers.


The Library 3D Printers are available for the public to make three-dimensional objects in P.L.A. plastic using a design that is uploaded or supplied to the Library from a digital computer file.

  1. The Library’s 3D printer may be used only for lawful purposes. The public will not be permitted to use the Library’s 3D printer to create material that is:
    1. Prohibited by law.
    2. Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others. No weapons or accessories will be printed.
    3. Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the Library environment.
    4. In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printers should not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
  2. The Library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.
  3. Cost: At the time of this publication, the cost is set at 20 cents per gram of filament, however, this cost is subject to change at any time. (Rounded to the nearest full gram)
  4. Items printed by the Library 3D printer that are not collected within 7 days will become property of the Library. Items must be collected by the individual who requested the print job.
  5. Only designated Library staff and volunteers or those having received sufficient training (and are able to demonstrate that) will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.


  • 3D printing: the process of making a physical object from a digital model.
  • 3D Printer: A 3D printer that uses melted P.L.A. plastic to produce objects designed on a computer.
  • CAD: Computer Assisted Drawing.


The procedure for printing from the Library’s 3D printers is as follows:

  1. Design creation:
    1. The 3D printer can be used coupled with basic knowledge of Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) software. Creating a new design requires knowledge of 3D modelling software products. Video tutorials or manuals that accompany CAD programs can be of assistance. There are tutorials available on the Christchurch City Libraries website that will provide a good starting point. 
    2. Christchurch City Libraries has public computers available with 123D and Tinkercad Design software installed that may be used to create 3D designs that are capable of being 3D printed.
    3. Digital designs are also available from various file-sharing databases such as Thingiverse.com. Printing priority will be given to customers that have produced their own model as opposed to downloading somebody else’s design.
  2. Submitting a design for printing:
    1. Persons wanting to use the 3D printer will fill in the online form (in .stl file format) (no larger than 25MB) on the Library website. Staff will review the model to assess printability and provide an estimate of printing cost. The online form can be found on the Christchurch city website with the email address Library3DPrinting@ccc.govt.nz to contact for more information.
    2. Print times can vary greatly depending on size and volume. Please note that during peak times print jobs may take up to 21 working days.
    3. The files will be readied for printing in MakerWare Software or other authorized software before printing.
    4. The purpose of our service is to support prototyping and printing small quantities. We have a limit of around 8 hours for our print jobs, as we won't leave the printers running unattended. The maximum build volume of the printer suitable for this type of prints is 250 x 210 x 210 mm. (Maximum 4 jobs per individual, per month)
    5. Wait/pickup time: Items may be collected at the Library. It is sometimes difficult to estimate exact print times. Library staff will make an educated guess about the length of a job upon request.
    6. We reserve the right to request permission to photos of 3D designs to be taken.
  3. Please note that procedures governing the use of the Library’s 3D printers are subject to change.

See Makerspaces and 3D printing for more information about the 3D printing service at Christchurch City Libraries.

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