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3D Printing: Day of Print

A guide for using 3D printing in lab.

How to mount your roll of filament


We only use polylactic acid (PLA) filament with the 3D printer at the Arnold Library - our printer is in an enclosed office space, and PLA is the formulation with the lowest smell / lowest air quality impact.

The Library does not stock filament for general use - you need to provide your own. Our printer uses 1.75mm PLA filament. 

Best results (meaning, fewest failed prints) are achieved by using high-quality filament, that has not absorbed moisture from the air. If your filament was purchased within the last few months and was shipped in vacuum-sealed packaging, yours should be fine.

(If you're going to keep PLA filament around, consider storing it in a moisture-controlled environment. If you do, It'll be much more user-friendly after months of sitting around - fewer failed prints. This can be done easily by putting the filament rolls in XL zipper-lock travel/storage bags (available online or at hardware / big-box stores), or even plastic paint buckets, along with a renewable desiccant.)

PLA storage

Filament that we have used successfully here at the Library include (but are not limited to):

AMZ3D (, Hatchbox (, MeltInk3D (, WYZworks ( There are many more manufacturers and products available online, the above are simply examples of filament we have positive experience using here.

Most of these filament brands are sold by the 1Kg roll, and run ~$15-$40 depending on merchant. Colors range from all of the pure primary colors, white and black, even translucent variations to glow-in-the-dark to transparent. 


Filament mounting options:

While there are spool holders mounted on the back of the printer, those work with only a very narrow set of the filament spools on the the market - odds are that the filament you have will not fit those existing spool holders.

Given the challenges with feed