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3D Printing at the SMS: How to Print


(Revised August, 2015)

Prepare your file

  • Save or export from your modeling program as either an .stl or .obj file. If your program doesn’t offer either format, there are a number of free tools that do, such as Meshlab, or the Autodesk Print Utility plugin for 123D Catch, 123D Design and 123D Make.

  • Check that your model is optimized for 3D printing. Most programs either feature this option or offer a plugin that will run a check for structural integrity. For tips on key elements of your model that could pose potential problems for 3D printing, read 8 Tips for 3D Printing with Sketchup

  • Use this format for naming your file: lastname_firstinitial_modelname  (ex: kennedy_h_ksulibrary.stl)

Submit print request

  • Fill out and submit our online form (see Request a Print page)

  • Upload your .stl or .obj file to the SMS 3D Print Requests folder in Google Drive. You may need to log in first with your credentials or a general Google account. See File Submissions section below for full instructions.

    • NOTE: Please only submit ONE print request at a time. Additional requests should not be submitted until the previous request is finished and picked up.

    • We require a minimum of 1 week turnaround on print requests.

    • For multi-part models (that are assembled to create one finished design) please organize the files together into a folder and compress into one zip file for uploading.

(Optional) Meet with an SMS consultant

During Fall 2020 semester the SMS will not be offering drop-in visits and in-person consultations. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

  • Depending on your request and the details of your project an SMS consultant may email you to arrange an appointment to review the model together on our computer.

    • Keep an eye out for an email from us in your inbox. Our email address is Some students find that our email filters to their junk mail folder so be sure to check there for our message as well.

    • You are also welcome to simply stop in during our open hours for an unscheduled consult, but please be aware that you may be asked to wait several minutes until a consultant is available.

  • During the consultation we will:

    • review the file with you in our 3D printer software, checking for noticeable issues/errors, double-checking build size and determining whether your model will require rafts and supports.

    • estimate turnaround time. (1 week minimum from date the file is approved for printing)

    • either approve the file or give it back to you for further adjustment.

  • You may not receive an email. This most likely means that your model is approved to print without issues and you will simply be contacted when it is finished.

Pick up model

  • You will be notified by email that your model is ready for pickup.

  • Return to the SMS in order to retrieve your model and before submitting a new request.

  • During Fall 2020 semester the SMS is offering contactless pickup. Look for pickup instructions upon receiving email notification that your print is complete.


(Revised: August, 2015)


Only submit ONE print request at a time. Additional requests should not be submitted until the previous request is finished and picked up. For multi-part models (that are assembled to create one finished design) please organize the files together into a folder and compress into one zip file for uploading.

File approval:

This 3D printing service is limited to currently enrolled Kent State students. All submissions are subject to approval based on scheduling and availability. Files will be printed in the order that they are approved, not the order that they are submitted. An exception to this would be if we determine that a small print job would fit on the plate with another one in the queue to save time. We also give higher priority to print requests for course assignments. Due to the number of requests that we receive each day we do not accept more than one project per student at a time.

Please note: Our 3D printing service is intended primarily for prototyping 3D designs. We do not offer bulk printing or multiple quantities of individual files unless the pieces are required to assemble into one large model. Each request is subject to evaluation, with special consideration given to course assignments and designed modeled by the student his or herself.

Notice concerning copyright and other legal restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this equipment is liable for any infringement. 

3D printing services at the Student Multimedia Studio (SMS) are available for lawful purposes only. United States intellectual property laws, including copyright (Title 17, USC), patent (Title 35, USC), and trademark law, govern the making of reproductions of materials protected by law. Kent State University reserves the right to refuse any 3D printing order if, in its sole judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright, patent or trademark law, or if such printed material would pose an immediate threat to the health, safety or well-being of others.

We reserve the right to decline any print request for any reason.


Items printed may have small surface defects such as bumps or holes. Please also note that while the 3D printers are very accurate, we do not guarantee any precise tolerances on fitting of multi-part objects.

Support material:

Some objects require support material to be printed with them (such as models with large overhangs). Other designs may require a brim (or raft) support at the base of the model. These materials can be easily removed, but you are responsible for removing them. Our SMS consultants will not remove the support material for you.

Course assignments:

If you are an instructor at Kent State who is assigning a project that requires 3D printing we encourage your students to use our services! We recommend contacting SMS Manager Hilary Kennedy prior to presenting the assignment to your students so that she can discuss the project with you and offer any tips or factors that your students should keep in mind. That will also help make the process run more smoothly for your class and allow us to complete the printing in a more timely manner. As we progress through the semester, our turnaround time will increase due to the number of classes using our services. Please allow your students a 2-week minimum on 3D printed assignments.

File submissions

We accept 3D model files for print requests through our SMS 3D Print Requests Google Drive folder. To access the folder for the first time, please do the following:

  1. Follow the link to the SMS 3D Print Requests folder.
  2. Look for a blue button in the top right corner that says, "Sign in" or "Open in Drive". Not signed in yet? Use your Flashline credentials or a personal Google account.
  3. Click the "Open in Drive" button. This saves the folder to your Google Drive and immediately directs you to the folder on your drive.
  4. Drag and drop the model file from your computer directly into the drive folder.
  5. Once your file appears on the page, your task is complete! You will now have quick access to this folder in the future simply by connecting to it directly from your Google Drive account.

Don't forget to fill out the online form for your request!