Design Lab: 3D Printing

3D printing is a cornerstone of the digital fabrication revolution (see here and here). The Design Lab at the Alief Campus provides access to this remarkable technology to the college’s students, faculty, and staff. We currently have two MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) and two Lulzbot Taz 4 printers.

3D Printer Usage Guidelines

  1. 3D printing in the lab will be directly supervised by lab staff.
  2. Designers will provide their own filament for printing. Designs will not be queued for print before filament has been provided. Staff can refuse to use any filament that is deemed incompatible or not suitable for use with the lab’s printers.
  3. Designers will work with staff to prepare their designs for print. Staff will evaluate and approve all designs before they are queued to be printed. Any design that violates HCC policy or local, state or federal laws will not be approved.
  4. Multiple prints of one or more designs may require the approval of the lab coordinator.
  5. Staff will provide an estimated date when the print will be ready based on complexity of the design and the schedule of items to be printed at the time of the request. Actual completion of print is subject to many factors and is not be guaranteed.
  6. The lab and its staff are not responsible for unsuccessful prints. We will make our best effort to help you succeed with your designs, but again we can make no guarantees as to the final product.
  7. It is the designer’s responsibility to return for completed prints. Staff will not notify users.

3D Printer Filaments

There are many types of filament that can be used with 3D printers with more being added all the time. Use the following reference to help you in purchasing filament for use with Design Lab printers.

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

is one of the safest and most popular types of filament used in 3D printing. It is made from biodegradable plant sources such as corn and sugar cane and is one of the easiest types of filament to use for printing. For these reasons, we recommend it for most printing in the Design Lab.


  • Diameter: 1.75mm filament
  • Amount: Can be bought in .5lb-1lb spools


PLA filament can be bought online directly from MakerBot or through retailers like Amazon. Fry’s Electronics currently carries PLA filament in it’s stores.


We recommend buying MakerBot filament for use on our printers. Talk to our staff before purchasing any other brands.

Note: Our staff reserve the right to not use a filament if we believe it presents a safety concern or may damage our printers. Check with us before buying if you have any questions about a particular brand or product.


$20.00-$30.00 for 1kg of 1.75mm PLA filament