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Heartland Community College

3D Printing and Technologies

3D Printing

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. The term "3D printing" can refer to a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object with material being added together (such as plastics, liquids or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer.

Heartland 3D Printers

Makerbot PLA – one of the most common type of 3D printers on the market which uses a Polylactic Acid known as PLA. PLA is used in a large variety of consumer products such as disposable tableware, cutlery, housings for kitchen appliances and electronics such as laptops and handheld devices. This type of printer is more cost-effective but does offer less quality. Cost for printing on the Makerbot is .10 cents per gram. The average object printed costs between .50 - $5.00, depending on the weight and size of the object.

Form Labs SLA – this printer is more advanced than the PLA and uses a Stereolithography resin (SLA) to print; meaning it uses a liquid resin rather than solid state filament. This method creates 3D objects by successively “printing” thin layers of a material curable by ultraviolet light. This printer is more accurate and has a higher level of precision, the end product is often smoother. Cost for printing on the MakerBot is .20 cents per milliliter. The average object printed costs between $3.00 – 10.00, depending on weight and size of the object.

What to 3D Print?

All students, faculty, and staff can submit a 3D print in our Teaching and Learning Commons Studio. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Email and request a 3D printed item. Attach your .stl file to your email. Need help with an .stl? Stop by the Teaching and Learning commons to get your file exported.
  2. TLC staff will add your request to the printing queue. Jobs are printed in the order they are received.
  3. Cost of printing will be reviewed. You will receive an email with the cost estimate for printing. Once you approve the estimate, printing will begin.
  4. You will receive an email when your item is ready for pick up.

3D Printing Policy

Heartland Community College 3D printers may only be used for lawful purposes. Items that will not be permitted include any item that is:

  • Prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
  • Unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others.
  • Obscene or otherwise inappropriate.
  • In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printers will not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent, or trademark protection.

Heartland Community College reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.

Items printed on the 3D printer that are not picked up within 7 days will become property of Heartland Community College.

Only designated Heartland Community College employees will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.

Production Studio

The Teaching and Learning Commons is also home to a Lightboard and Podcasting studio. The Lightboard is a piece of glass where you can write on the surface and record an interactive video for a presentation, group project, or individual reflection. You can reserve the room for video creation or podcast recording by emailing

Virtual Reality

Interested in VR? Come immerse yourself in virtual reality by using an Oculus Quest 2 headset. If you are needing additional study help or would like to use a VR app, you can email to reserve some time to use the space and enjoy an immersive experience. Faculty can also request class tours of the TLC.

Contact the TLC

2401 Student Commons Building
Heartland Community College
1500 West Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761

Kate Herald Browne, PhD

Director, Online Learning & Instructional Technologies
SCB 2401
Phone: 309-268-8297

Alex Kritselis, MS

Instructional Technologist
SCB 2401
Phone: 309-268-8017

Pete Pucek, MS

Instructional Technologist
SCB 2401
Phone: 309-268-8303