3D Printers

What are they?

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

We currently have two main types of 3D printer:

    • FDM/FFF – 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 – 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 in the iForge 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 merit. If this is something you’re interested in, come in and have a chat to one of our reps!

Basics of use

If you have any questions about the process or want advice on your design, feel free to ask any of our reps on shift or email the 3D printing team at: 3DPrinting.iForge@sheffield.ac.uk

    1. You must complete the compulsary online training before entering the iForge and the 3D printing training to use the 3D printers.
    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.

If you are planning to create a 3D print with us we reccomend that you read all the information on this webpage. So keep scrolling! If, at the end, you want more detailed information, you can check out the iForge digital page here.


Creating a good print

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 helpful resources:


iForge Reps taking care of the 3D Printers

The 3DP team is responsible for maintaining and managing the 3D prints and printers we have available at the iForge. If a 3D printer or print misbehaves, the 3DP team is the first to be notified. Find out more about them and the other teams that keep the iForge running on our Meet Our Team page!

If you want to be a part of the 3DP team or any other iForge team you can register your interest here.

If you want to see what other teams you can be a part of by volunteering with the iForge click here.

FDM/FFF 3D Printers available at the iForge

Prusa MK3S

Build volume: 250 x 210 x 210 mm

Slicer to use: PrusaSlicer

Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm

Typical layer height: 0.15 – 0.3mm

Full Specifications found here.

All of our prints are printed in PLA as standard. If you are interested in alternative filaments, we require valid reasons for specific materials to be used and your print must be tested in PLA first. 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 when they’re on shift or at: 3DPrinting.iForge@sheffield.ac.uk.


Usage Policy

This is where we get into the specifics of 3D Printing with the iForge. Please keep reading if you are planning to print with us as it may save both of us lots of time later on in your printing adventure.

All 3D print jobs done in the iForge are at the 3D Printing Team’s discretion, please feel free to ask for guidance on your 3D print if you are unsure about anything.

We reserve the right to reject any print we deem unsuitable for manufacture using our equipment, you can ask us why your print was rejected and we may offer ideas or suggestions to help you get your desired outcome.

Here are some general guidelines:

    • We want everyone to learn about 3D printing, not just use it as a tool!
        • Our focus is on supporting our users in completing their personal and university projects
        • Please ensure the files you bring in are suitable for 3D printing
    • All prints should be under 10 hours in length
        • This rule can be broken but 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
    • Think before you print!
        • 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 without discussing them first will be banned from using the 3D printing facilities