3D Printing at Canisius

Table of Contents

What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing is an additive manufacturing process. What this means is that, unlike traditional manufacturing which takes away material to create parts, 3D printing only uses the material it needs to create the part. How it does this is by taking a 3D generated object, typically an STL file created in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) software (ex., OpenSCADFreeCADTinkerCADAutoCAD, Fusion360, etc.) or 3D modeling software (ex., Blender, Maya, Cinema4D, ZBrush, etc.), and making it physical. This is done by converting the 3D object into something that a 3D printer can "understand" using a slicer, a program that translates the object into GCode. GCode tells the printer everything it needs to, from the type of material being printed with, to how hot the nozzle needs to get, where the print head needs to be at a given time, etc. The printer then creates the object, layer by layer, on a build plate. The result is a physical manifestation of the STL. 

Types of 3D Printing

There are two types of 3D Printing. Fused Deposition Material (FDM), also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is the most common form of 3D printing. This type of 3D printing melts a plastic string, called filament, and deposits this onto a build plate.

The other type of 3D Printing is Stereolithography (SLA) or Resin printing. This takes a vat of resin, dips in the build plate, and flashes the resin with UV to create the model.

There are pros and cons to both, but suffice to say that FDM is typically slower, but stronger whereas Resin is faster and has better details, but prints can be more brittle (in addition to requiring more preparation and post processing).

3D Printing at Canisius

Canisius has four 3D printers run by the Center for Online Learning and Innovation (COLI). Our first two, nicknamed Mordecai and Rigby, are Prusa Mini's. These small but durable printers have been very reliable for FDM prints so far. We also have a third, larger, FDM printer dubbed Benson, a Bambu Labs X1 Carbon with the Automatic Material System (AMS), allowing it to use multiple materials at once. 

Our fourth printer, an Anycubic Photon Resin Printer, is called Pops. Pops, due to fumes and dangers posed by resin, is kept in a forced-air hood. 

Rigby and Benson are kept in the COLI office. Mordecai and Pops are kept in the 3D Printing Lab in Science Hall.

Benson, a Bambu Labs X1 Carbon FDM PrinterMordecai, a Prusa Mini FDM PrinterPops, an Anycubic Photon Resin Printer

Note: Rigby looks nearly the same, so you won't see a 

picture here.

Image coming soon!

At Canisius, 3D printing has been used for a multitude of things. 

We have printed turtle shells for Dr. Robin Foster so her students can train how to handle turtles before handling live ones. For Dr. Mike Wood, students were able to design and print objects of their own design. We also printed parts for an Archimedean Screw. 

We have also 3D printed parts for research. Dr. Malini Suchak's research into the behavior of cats at shelters required the use of a unique set of electronics. A case was designed and then 3D printed.

We are also happy to help faculty 3D print replicas of objects of historical or cultural significance, objects that can be used in their courses, and students that want to 3D print something for a project. Check out our 3D Printing Policy for more information.

3D Printing Policy

Last updated  

What cannot be printed?

What can be printed?

  • Replicas of artifacts of historical or cultural significance for use in-class, including but not limited to:
    • Pottery shards
    • Burial Masks
    • Religious Relics
    • Historical items
    • Topographical maps
    • Replicas of historic sites
    • Note: Replicas of historical weapons may be printed. Please discuss with COLI staff at least several months prior to when you need this. 
  • Scientific Instruments, including but not limited to:
    • Measuring tools
    • Jigs
  • Tools for academics or research, including but not limited to:
    • Bones or shells
    • Replicas of organs
    • Custom-designed cases for electronic components

3D Printing Costs

  • 3D printing costs money, not only material costs, but also general maintenance and depreciation of the 3D Printers themselves. Estimations of cost of the 3D printed part(s) will be made available by request. Objects will be weighed after the print is finished to determine the actual amount of material used. The cost of 3D printing will be the amount of material used (including supporting material) plus a nominal fee (“the fee”) per print.
    • The PLA filament we use is usually between $20-$25 per 1KG reel, making the cost of the print anywhere from $0.02 to about $0.03 per gram of filament used.
    • For resin prints, the price of a 1KG bottle is usually between $30 and $40+, making the cost of the print anywhere from about $0.03 to $0.05 per gram of resin used.
    • Keep in mind that most 3D prints are at least semi-hollow, but also sturdy (in general). This is known as infill. We will determine the density of the infill based on the expected use of the 3D printed object.
    • Additionally, note that we only print one object per print. This helps reduce waste in the case of a catastrophic printing failure.
  • We will only accept payment via department budget transfer.


  • I want to 3D print something that is copyrighted. Will you do that?
    • Yes. However, note that we are not responsible for determining whether or not an object is protected under copyright law, nor violates any of the laws or policies above. You, as the provider of the file, will bear the responsibility of determining whether or not an object is copyright protected, subject to law or policies, and any other responsibility(ies) therein. Also note that we reserve the right to refuse to print any objectwithout giving cause.
  • I want to print something in an “exotic” (i.e., uncommon, such as carbon fiber or simu-bone) printing material other than what is available. Will you do that?
    • Depending on the cost of the material, and whether or not our 3D printers can handle the material, we may buy it and only charge you the cost of the material used and the fee. 
    • For more expensive materials, you may have to pay for the reel. In which case, we would only charge you the fee for having the object 3D Printed. You would be able to keep the reel.
    • In either of the above cases, you must provide us a direct link to purchase the material and the materials specifications (if separate from the buying link).
  • I don’t like the colors you have. Can you buy a different color?
    • In general, no. We typically use PLA or PETG for FDM and Grey UV Resin for Resin Printing. All of these materials take well to spray paint/craft paint/modeling paint.
  • I want to print a lot of items. Can I do that?
    • No. 3D printing for course work and research take precedence. Additionally, we do not have the capacity to print more than a handful of items at a time.
  • I want to 3D print items to sell. Will you do that?
    • No. However, feel free to ask us for any advice on 3D printers, filaments/resin (aka, materials), etc.
  • My 3D print came back looking weird. Can you guys fix it?
    • We will give you what comes off of the build plate. We are not responsible for cleaning up stringing or removing supports. If you believe that there is something wrong with your object, please let us know and we can discuss a course of action.
      • If you require advice on how to best remove stringing or supports, ask us. Advice is always free.
    • Some 3D files are simply just bad. We recommend either creating your own files (TinkerCADFreeCADOpenSCADBlender, are all free or opensource software for generating 3D files). You may also purchase/download files from 3D sharing websites such as MyMinifactory, Printables, Thingiverse, and/or Etsy. 
    • You are responsible for making any required modifications to the model.
    • You are responsible for ensuring that your model is 3D printable.
    • If it is a model that we helped to design, we will modify it as needed.
  • I want to create an object for course work/research, but it needs to be custom designed. Will you help with that?
    • In general, please talk to us. We may decide to help. Otherwise, we will point you to one of the previously mentioned software.
  • What if my object fails while 3D printing? Will you charge me for that?
    • If it is a catastrophic failure that is the result of the 3D printing process, no. This includes but is not limited to:
      • Failure to stick to the build plate
      • Spaghettiing/bird nest (i.e., when a layer of filament does not stick to the previous layer)
    • If it is a failure in the model (for example, a small part of the object is missing in the 3D model), yes.
  • My 3D printed object broke while using it! Will you reprint one free of charge?
    • After the object leaves the build plate, we are no longer responsible for what happens to it, nor for any resulting events from the use or misuse of the object.
  • When my 3D Object broke, the object injured someone or damaged something! You guys are in big trouble!
    • No. As stated previously, after the object leaves the build plate, we are no longer responsible for what happens to it. Nor are we responsible for what happens to anyone or anything while using the 3D Object.
  • Is this policy subject to change?
    • Yes, we reserve the right to change this policy without notice.

The Gallery

The Canisius Makerspace

Coming soon, in association with Canisius Makerspace and the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library, the Canisius Makerspace will be located in what was the Library Conference room in the basement of the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library. This space will include the more traditional makerspace materials (i.e., Legos, paint supplies, glue, etc.) and also more high-end tools, including the 3D printers mentioned above (and more besides). Stay tuned to this page, the COLI Blog, and the Canisius Dome while we prepare the Makerspace.

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