3D Printers

General Information

3D printers are a form of additive manufacture (AM) that allows a user to turn a CAD model into something physical. This is great for rapid prototyping or for physical illustration of designs. 3D printers are one of our most used engineering tools here in the iForge!

We currently have two main types of 3D printer, FDM/FFF and SLA. FDM is the normal technology people think of when they say 3D printing – it works by extruding hot plastic in layers and gradually building up a model. SLA is a liquid resin based technology, using a laser to cure photosensitive resin layer by layer to build up a part.

FDM/FFF is what we mainly focus on as it is much easier to take any model and turn it into a physical object, however we can do SLA prints by request based on their merit. If this is something you’re interested in, come in and have a chat to one of our reps!

Getting Started

  1. As with all of our machines and tools, all users must complete the online training before using our facilities for 3D printing.
  2. Export your CAD file as a 3D mesh – we can use the 3MF or STL filetypes (“Save As Mesh” on bodies in Fusion 360).
  3. Bring your files into the iForge on a USB stick. Email submissions cannot be accepted.
  4. Talk to one of our friendly iForge Reps, who will guide you through the slicing process and add your print job to our queue.
  5. Wait for the print to complete! You will receive an email when it is ready to pick up from the iForge.

Design for 3D Printing

When designing models for manufacture using 3D printers it’s important to take account of the process to ensure your print will be successful. Everything from the size of features to the orientation the part is printed in matters!

While we’re working on our own guidance for designing for 3D printer manufacture, take a look at these resources we think might be helpful:

Billie Reuben’s design tips poster

Reddit r/3DPrinting Wiki – Making Models

iForge FDM/FFF 3D Printer Specifications

Ultimaker 2+ Extended Prusa MK3S 
Build volume: 220 x 220 x 300 mmBuild volume: 250 x 210 x 210 mm
Slicer to use: PrusaSlicer

Link to our profiles (google drive)
Slicer to use: PrusaSlicer

Link to our profiles (google drive)
Nozzle diameter: 0.4mmNozzle diameter: 0.4mm
Typical layer height: 0.3mmTypical layer height: 0.15-0.3mm

All of our prints are printed in PLA as standard. If you are interested in alternative filaments these are available on a case by case basis however we require valid reasons for specific materials to be used, all prints must be first tested in PLA. If you have an unusual set of requirements or want to bring in your own materials, please get in touch with the 3D printing team directly.

Slicer Presets

Link to our profiles (google drive)

Usage Policy

All print jobs are done in the iForge at the 3D Printing Team’s discretion.

We reserve the right to reject any print we deem unsuitable for manufacture using our equipment.

General guidelines:

  • The iForge is a makerspace, not a 3D printing service!
    • Our focus is on supporting our users in completing their personal and university projects
    • We want everyone to learn about 3D printing, not just use it as a tool!
    • Please avoid bringing in random files you found on the internet, first ensure they are suitable for 3D printing
  • All prints should be under 10 hours in length
    • This is not a hard rule, depending on the objects being printed, but breaking this rule is only at the 3D printing team’s discretion – talk to us
    • This is to ensure our printers continue working reliably for everyone – longer prints have a higher chance of failure, and a long print failing overnight is a significant risk
  • We operate a fair use policy
    • Think before you print – do you need this object, or is it a waste of time and plastic? Double check your measurements and tolerances before submitting anything to the print queue!
    • While there is no fixed limit on usage, if we think your usage is excessive or negatively impacting on the iForge’s ability to support other users we may ask you to stop
    • Any users attempting to circumvent any limitations set by the 3D printing team will be banned from using our facilities

Contact us

Email: 3DPrinting.iForge@sheffield.ac.uk
You can also visit the iForge during our open hours and chat to one of our reps