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3D Services in Bethel University Library: How to Create a Digital Model

This guide provides resources to learn about 3D printing and scanning and the services that the Library provides regarding these technologies.

General Guidelines and Requirements

In order to print your model, our print processing software needs you to submit a solid, manifold (Bethel only link) or watertight STL-formatted file.  The software you use to create your model is largely up to you -- the tools featured below are intended to get you started, using common and/or readily available software and hardware.  If you are already experienced in 3D modelling using more advanced tools, you can still use these as well as long as your final model is a solid, closed-surface STL (.stl) file. When your model is ready, head to the Request a Print page to upload your file.

The maximum dimensions of the build area for each printer: 

Prusa MINI - 180mm x 180mm x 180mm (7in x 7in x 7in).

Be advised these are the maximum dimensions for your reference; an item approaching 2 or three of these maximum dimensions may be impractical to complete due to time and/or cost. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Below are a few options to create a simple model using each piece of software below  or to find one that someone else has already made.  Once you know the basics you can build on your own or follow more advanced tutorials as you grow in your abilities.

Download a Model Tinkercad 123D Design
SketchUp Other Software Options 3D Scanner

Download a Model From a Repository

Object Repositories (download models to print or examine in modelling software)

Tinkercad (Novice)

Tinkercad is a service from Autodesk (free account creation required) where you can create your own 3D designs. It is easy to learn and has several quick tutorials to get started.

Tinkercad cathedral model

Autodesk 123D Design (Novice to Expert)

123D Design is free software can be downloaded to Macs, PCs, and iPads to create and edit 3D models.

Sketchup (Novice to Expert)

SketchUp is an easy-to-use software package that allows you to build digital models from scratch, rather than starting by "capturing" physical objects.  The user interfaces and modelling techniques are intuitive and simplified versions of those found in more advanced modelling software, making it a good stepping stone toward the next levels of digital modelling.

Free K-12 version, Pro version (subscription)


Other Software Options

Creation Tools and Modeling Software

  • Netfabb Cloud Service -- for repairing and making manifold .STL files. Upload your STL and download a repaired copy, optimized for 3D printing.

More Tutorials and Resources

Subject Guide

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Kari Jagusch
Bethel University Library
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul, MN 55112