3-D Printing

Mount Prospect Public Library strives to connect people to resources that spark innovation within their lives. We provide access to the Dremel® Idea Builder 3D40 to engage the community with new and emerging technologies. Check out our upcoming 3-D printing classes here.

How 3-D Printing Works

The Dremel 3D Idea Builder is a 3D printer that turns digital models into physical objects. Once a 3D model is designed or scanned, and converted to a .STL file, you can use Dremel 3D software to build the model on your Idea Builder. Using the 3D model as its map, the 3D printer lays down the first thin layers of a filament called PLA, a plant-based, recyclable form of plastic. The layers of filament stack up one by one until – ta da! – a complete physical object is formed.

Source: Dremel support

Using Our 3-D Printers

To use our 3-D printers, please fill out the submission form below.

  • Print jobs must be submitted using the form below.
  • Must be MPPL cardholder.
  • For patrons under 18 years of age, permission from a parent or guardian is required. A parent or guardian may confirm permission in person, over the phone, by email, or in the comments section of a submission.
  • If submission exceeds maximum build size or time, files will be scaled.
  • Items can only be printed in one color.
  • Filament of the same color sometimes sport subtle variations in pigment.
  • Contact us with questions or issues: 3dprinting@mppl.org.


Due to high demand, the 3D printing submission rules have changed and will now be placed into slots that are first come, first serve.

  • Patrons may submit a total of 3 submissions per month, and there will be 3 slots available per week. If a patron submits more than one submission at a time, these submissions will be spread into one slot per week over the course of three weeks.
  • Print time will not exceed 8 hours.
  • We will not print illegal, inappropriate, potentially dangerous items or those items that violate copyright laws.
  • If the model fails to print or requires editing, patrons will be contacted to edit and resubmit their designs. Patrons will not be charged for failed or incomplete print jobs.
  • Patrons can contact staff for the cost of printing and estimated completion time.
  • Patrons will receive notification when the print job is completed.
  • Items will be available for pick up at the Registration Desk. Production times may be up to a week or longer.
  • Items must be picked up within 2 weeks. Items that are not picked up become property of the library and may be recycled. Patrons will be charged for the items.
  • See complete guidelines: 3-D Printer Guidelines


The cost of 3D printing submissions is $1.00, plus $0.10 per yard. Please review the guidelines above.


dremel color options

3-D Design Tips

  • Design to avoid supports by changing the orientation of an object or cutting a file into pieces and gluing it together (see photos below). Keep the YHT rule in mind:
  • Y: overhangs less than 45 degrees can generally print without supports,
  • H: the horizontal bar is a bit messy but since it has the vertical side bars as supports, it’s not terrible quality,
  • T: only has support in the middle and is truly printing out over nothing, making it the worst quality.
3D printed cones

Change orientation so no supports are needed.

support example

Cut into pieces and glue together so no supports are needed.

3D printed letters Y H T

All three of these prints could be perfect without supports if they were printed on their backs instead of standing straight up.

  • If your design has interlocking parts, the inside part should be between .2-.4 mm smaller.
interlocking parts example

The blue W is .3 mm smaller than the W cutout that it fits inside on the white part.

  • Any details smaller than .1 mm will be lost.

3D Printing Definitions and Terminology

3D Printing Glossary* (HP Tech Takes)
3D Printing Terminology (All3DP)

*Thanks to the Lyndhurst Girls’ STEM Club for suggesting this link!

Video Tutorials

Lynda.com videos

This resource is free with your library card.

To access, click “Log in” at the top right side of the page. Next click “Organization Login” at the top of the login box that will pop up, then under “Enter your organization’s URL to log in through their portal” enter mppl.org. The final step is to enter your library card and PIN.

Up and Running with 3D Printing
Tinkercad Tutorials
Meshmixer Tutorials

MPPL videos

3-D Pumpkin Design with Tinkercad
3-D Turkey Design using Tinkercad
3-D Snowman Design using Tinkercad


Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software


Free .STL Files

Some sites require a free account.
Note: Some free designs may not print properly. It is recommended that you inspect them in a CAD software before submitting.
My Mini Factory
Smithsonian X 3D— Iconic Smithsonian collection objects
NASA 3D Resources— 3D models, textures, and images from inside NASA

Submission Form