Even if you don’t have a 3D printer, there are still ways to be able to get or create 3D prints. You just need to know where to 3D print something and choose the best option. Your choice will depend on your printing requirements and available resources.
To 3D print without a 3D printer, you can find a local library or university that provides public access to 3D printers. You can also reach out to others who have a 3D printer in your area, or use a professional 3D printing service to get a model done for you. Some local companies have 3D printers they can use.
This is just a basic answer, so keep reading to discover different options for making 3D prints without a 3D printer.
How to 3D Print Without a 3D Printer
Here’s how to get 3D prints without using a 3D printer:
- Print at a local library
- Order from a 3D print service
- Get someone to 3D print for you
- Reach out to a local Makerspace
- Visit local companies that do 3D prints
- 3D print at a local university
1. Print at a Local Library
One of the ways to 3D print without a 3D printer is to use a 3D printer from a local library. Many people are not aware of the possibility to print 3D objects at some local libraries.
Today, there are a lot of libraries offering 3D printing services to their patrons, which allows you to print 3D objects without having to buy a printer.
To find out if your local library offers 3D printing services, you can check the library’s website or contact the library directly.
One user recommends checking the local library system. Chances are there’s at least one public library in your area that offers 3D printing services for a reasonable fee.
You may need to sign up for a library card or have an active account at the library in order to use their 3D printing service. Additionally, you may need to attend training sessions to learn how to use the library’s 3D printing equipment and software.
Once you’re set up to use their printing service, you can typically submit your design file to the library’s staff, who will then print the object for you.
Some libraries may charge a fee for 3D printing services, while others offer them for free or for a small donation. Many of them provide 3D printing services for a small fee or completely free.
Check out this video to see an example of a local library (the Kingwood Branch Library) that offers free access to 3D printers.
Keep in mind that not all libraries offer 3D printing services, and those that do may have specific policies or restrictions on what can be printed. Additionally, there may be limitations on the size, complexity, and materials that can be used for 3D printing at a library.
2. Order from a 3D Print Service
Another way to 3D print without a 3D printer is to order from a 3D print service. There are many companies that offer 3D printing services that allow you to submit your 3D design files and have them printed and shipped to you.
When using an online 3D printing service, you typically upload your design file and select the material, color, and other specs. The service will then provide you with a quote and an estimated delivery time. Once you approve the quote, the service will print and ship your object to you.
Here are some popular online 3D printing services:
These services offer a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, and ceramics, and can produce a wide range of objects, from small figurines to large prototypes
There are many factors to consider when choosing a 3D print service. Your choice will depend on what you’re printing. Consider everything from the type of resolution to the detail and accuracy you want to achieve.
Keep in mind that the cost of using an online 3D printing service can vary depending on the size and complexity of your object, as well as the material you choose.
Check the video below to learn how to use Shapeways service and get prints without using a 3D printer.
3. Get Someone to 3D Print for You
You can also 3D print without a 3D printer by getting someone else to 3D print for you. Browse the 3D printing communities to find someone locally with a 3D printer.
There are many online communities that connect people who need 3D printing services with those who offer them. For example, the MakeXYZ allows you to search for 3D printing services in your area. Submit your design file to the service and receive quotes from local 3D printing providers.
You can also check local maker groups or tech communities in your area. If you prefer social networks and online communities, check out local Facebook, WhatsApp, Discord, and Telegram groups.
Here are some popular 3D printing groups and forums where you can get someone to print for you:
When using a 3D printing network or community, be sure to carefully review the provider’s profile and feedback from other users before placing an order. You should also be clear about your design requirements to ensure that you receive a quality print.
If you want to get 3D prints this way, check out this video to familiarize yourself with 3D printing-related lawsuits.
4. Visit Local Companies That Do 3D Prints
Another way to 3D print without a 3D printer is to find a local company that specializes in 3D printing. Luckily, there are many small businesses or startups that offer 3D printing services for a reasonable price.
To find local companies that offer 3D printing services, you can search online and check local business directories. Enter search terms like “local 3D printing companies,” “3D printing companies near me,” or “3D printing companies in [city or town name].”
You could also check local business directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Google Maps to find businesses that offer 3D printing services. Specify the location to get relevant search results. Enter the name of your city/town or zip code to narrow down the search results to the local area.
Alternatively, you can ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues who have used 3D printing services in the past.
One user made a comment stating that he found a local company that helped him to create TPU prints.
When choosing a local 3D printing company, be sure to consider factors like cost, quality, and turnaround time. Some companies may offer different types of 3D printing technologies, such as FDM or SLA printing, which can affect the quality and accuracy of your print.
Additionally, some companies may have minimum order quantities or other requirements that you should be aware of before placing an order.
Check out this video to meet a company that offers 3D printing model service.
5. Reach Out to a Local Makerspace
Finding a local Makerspace is another option if you don’t own a 3D printer. Makerspaces are community workshops that offer access to a variety of tools, including 3D printers.
Once you’ve found a Makerspace near you that offers 3D printing services, ask them to help you create a 3D print.
One user who suggests looking for nearby Makerspaces said that they are typically fairly inexpensive.
Makerspaces may charge a fee for membership or the use of their equipment, although some offer free access to their 3D printing services. Additionally, a Makerspace can be a great place to connect with other makers and get inspiration and guidance for your projects.
To use their 3D printing equipment, you may need to become a member of the space. Once you’re set up to use their printers, you’ll be able to submit your design file and 3D print your object on-site.
If you want to create a Makerspace and equip it with budget-friendly 3D printers, check this video to find out how to set up a Makerspace for around $500.
6. 3D Print at a Local University
Some universities that offer 3D printing services are open to the public or offer community memberships. To find out if your local university offers 3D printing services, check their website or contact the school’s engineering or art department.
Some universities may offer community memberships that allow access to their Makerspace or fabrication lab for a fee. Others may offer 3D printing services for a fee, similar to a commercial printing service.
When using a university Makerspace, be sure to review their policies and procedures for using their equipment. Some universities may require users to complete safety training or orientation before using the equipment.
One reviewer said that his university Makerspace has four small 3D printers and two big ones besides a vacuum molding machine, laser cutters, and several 3D scanners.
Ask about what 3D printing equipment your local university has to make sure it suits your needs. By using a local university for 3D printing services, you may have access to more advanced equipment compared to other options.
Check out this video to learn how 3D printing technologies are utilized by professors and students for architectural models at the University of Calgary.