Bluesmith Printing Service

3D Raspberry Pi caseOIT offers the Bluesmith 3D printing service that allows you to submit an .STL file and have the model of your choice fabricated and finished by one of the knowledgeable staff members at the Innovation Co-Lab Studio on West Campus. We offer both Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SL) for this service. For a small fee, you have the option of a basic service that does not include support structure removal and finishing or you can choose the premium service that includes top priority in the queue over all non-premium orders and also includes support structure removal and finishing. You can submit your .STL file and request an estimate HERE.

Pricing & Types of Service

The cost of 3D printing varies widely based on the technology used and amount of material depending on the size and design of each model.

Technologies & Equipment

We offer six types of 3D printing technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)Stereolithography (SLA), Multijet (MJP), Continuous Filament, Polyjet and Laminate (LOM).  Most printing technologies generally require an overnight run time of the printer.  

  • FFF Printing 
    • Equipment – We use several FFF tools but primarily rely on Ultimaker 2+ and 2+ Extended 3D Printers
    • Material choices – Nearly infinite.  The CoLab supports PLA and PETG but over 1,000 other filament materials exist. 
    • Strengths – This printing type allows the greatest variety of material types (nearly infinite options exist), is typically the fastest 3D printing technology, has the largest build volume and is by far the cheapest printing method.
    • Weaknesses – This is the lowest resolution 3D printing technology.  The support material is difficult to remove and leaves scars on the print. The likelihood of failure increase exponentially with the size of the job.
  • SLA Printing
    • Equipment – Formlabs Form 2
    • Material Choices – Acrylic-like materials in 
    • Strengths – A relatively high-resolution 3D print that balances cost for performance 
    • Weaknesses – More expensive than FFF, limited selection of materials.  The support material is difficult to remove and leaves scars on the print. 
    • When to use this technology – Use when you need a higher resolution print than FFF can provide but don’t want the expense of MJP or Polyjet. 
  • Continuous Fiber
    • Equipment – Markforged 2
    • Material Choices – Carbon fiber or fiberglass embedded nylon
    • Strengths – Extremely strong.  Very similar to FFF but winds carbon fiber or fiberglass string into the print job creating a part that’s several hundred times more resilient than regular FFF prints.  
    • Weakness – Limited material choices.  More expensive than FFF.  The support material is difficult to remove and leaves scars on the print. 
    • When to use this technology – Use in circumstances where you need to make extremely strong, useable parts
  • LOM – Coming Soon!
    • Equipment – MCor ARKe
    • Material Choices – Colored paper
    • Strengths – Multicolor printing
    • Weaknesses – Specialty printer
    • When to use this technology – This tech is a specialist in color printing.  This tool will allow you to build photo realistic models and apply colored surface textures
  • MJP
    • Equipment – 3DSystems MJP3600
    • Material Choices – White ABS. Navy, white-opaque and black polycarbonate.  Cast-able wax. 
    • Strengths – Similar to SLA but much higher resolution.  No surface scars when removing support material.  The support material is easily removed.  14-micron layer resolution. 
    • Weakness – Expensive and limited material selection
    • When to use this technology – Use this when you need the highest resolution 3D print possible or prints without surface scars from support material
  • Polyjet
    • Equipment – Stratasys J750
    • Material Choices – Nearly infinite.
    • Strengths – Highest quality visualization 3D printing available.  Full-color 3D printing.  Easily removable support material with no surface scars on the part.  17-micron layer resolution. 
    • Weakness – Expensive…very expensive. 
    • When to use this technology – When you need full color, high resolution, scar free parts that can be made from a mix of solid and or flexible materials. 

Pricing Structure

  • FFF
    • $10 base charge (100 grams included)
    • $5 for each additional block of 100 grams
    • Material Choices – Battleship Grey PLA or Blue PETG
    • Model must be less than 223 x 223 x 305 mm
    • For FFF printing users are welcome self-support and print for free in the CoLab 
  • SLA
    • $30 base charge (100ml included)
    • $10 charge for premium materials (flexible or tough resins)
    • $10 charge for each additional 50ml
  • Continuous Fiber
    • $10 base charge
    • $5 per 50 cubic centimeters of plastic
    • $3 per cubic centimeter of carbon fiber
    • $1 per cubic centimeter of fiber glass
  • LOM
    • Coming soon!
  • MJP
    • $20 base charge
    • $.50 per gram of material
    • $.25 per gram of support
  • Polyjet
    • $30 base charge
    • $1 per gram of material
    • $.50 per gram of support

Failure Policy

3D printing is an experimental technology that often fails.  Equipment failures are not unusual.  CoLab Staff will make every attempt to print your object successfully.  If equipment breaks or the print failed without cause we will attempt to print it again.  The likelihood of failure increases significantly with more difficult-to-print models.  If the failure is a result of simply submitting too difficult of a model, customers will still be charged an attempt fee of half the price of the initial quote.  Users can accept the failed job or we can make a second attempt at the print; in this scenario, we will make additional attempts at 50% of the original estimate.