The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Getting Started


3D model repositories, such as MakerBot's, host 3D print files for download that patrons can print and/or edit.  3D print results, when using a free-to-use file, are not guaranteed.  


Scanning with lasers or using a camera allow to create 3D models of objects or people.  Patrons can use our MakerBot Digitizers, Sense hand-held scanner, or a camera/smart phone.  Scan times can run from a few minutes to 12 min.  

MakerBot Digitizers 
Availability:  In-Lab Use Only
Scan Area (Max):  8in x 8in, circular
Resolution:  0.5 mm
Software:  Free-to-download

Sense hand-held scanner
Availability:  1 Day Loan
Scan Area:  9x9x9 ft
Resolution:  0.9 mm
Software:  Free-to-download


3D prints can be created from any modeling software that exports files as .stl or .obj.  Be aware that not all 3D software create models that are suitable for 3D printing.  All models will be evaluated by our staff to make sure your file is printable.  If a file is not considered printable by our staff, then we will inform patrons that they will need to edit their file before printing can begin.   

We recommend Solid Modeling or CAD (Computer Aided Design) 3D modeling software.  This software is intended to create models that will eventually exist in the real world and help avoid modeling issues concerning 3D printing.  It is possible to use Mesh modeling software for 3D printing, but it may prove problematic unless modelers have an understanding of 3D printing best practices.  If you are unsure about best practices for 3D modeling for 3D printing, please see one of our consultants.

Solid Modeling

  • TinkerCAD (Recommended, entry level, interactive tutorials, web-based app, Free-to-Use)
  • Fusion 360 (Free-to-Use for students and faculty)
  • Solidworks (Windows Only)
  • Inventor (Windows Only, Free-to-Use for students and faculty)

Mesh Modeling  

Patrons can use non-CAD software but should research or ask our 3D print staff for best practices when creating 3D models for 3D printing to avoid delays in producing a print project.  

  • SketchUp Make (Free-to-Use, Recommend to install 3d printing extensions)
  • Autodesk Maya (Free-to-Use for students and faculty)
  • Blender (Open source, so its free for everyone)
  • Autodesk MudBox (Free-to-Use for students and faculty)
  • Scultpris (Free-to-Use)
  • ZBrush     

3D Printing and Scanning

Submit a Request

Staffed Hours

Sunday-Thursday 12-10pm
Friday & Saturday 12-6pm

3d Printing

Monday-Friday 12-5pm

Contact Us

Phone: 413-545-6258

Digital Media Lab
W.E.B. Du Bois Library, 3rd Floor
University of Massachusetts Amherst
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003