Frequently Asked Questions

3D Printing Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I export .STL files to ensure they are in the correct units?
    • .STL files are unit less and therefore are assumed to be in mm.  This means that if you defined your part in inches 1 inch will become 1 mm in the exported file.
      • NX – If your NX file was created in inches follow these steps:
        • Go to the windows Start menu and choose All Programs > Siemens NX # > NX Tools > Command Prompt
        • Type ug_convert_part -mm (with a space at the end) and then drag and drop the files that you want to convert into the command window
        • Press Enter
        • You will see a dialog showing progress until the file is converted.
  • What are the size of the build plates available in the lab?
    • The Lulzbot Mini can print parts that are up to: 6 inch x 6 inch x 6.2 inch
    • The Lulzbot Taz5 can print parts that are up to:  11.4 inch x 10.8 inch x 9.8 inch 


  • What can I do if my part is bigger than the size of the build plate?
    • If the design is larger than the print area, you may have to break the design into smaller pieces that will be assembled later in order to be manufactured. An example of a design split into 3 pieces is shown below.

  • What is the smallest feature size that can be printed?
    • Depending on several factors: the nature of the geometry, the printing profile, material used, the ambient conditions and a few other factors this will vary, but in general features that are smaller than 10 mm don’t print so well. See the example below.

  • What kind of adhesive works best to join 3D printed parts together?
    • PLA – Loctite Super Glue Gel
      • Available on  Amazon for about $5
      • This video shows tests and various glues and how this conclusion was reached