3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology that is used for quickly prototyping computer-modeled parts. Printed parts can be used as visualizations or as mechanical parts depending on the material or geometry, or both. 

CCA's 3D printing services are only available to current CCA students, faculty, and staff. 

In order to make these resource accessible within the educational context, printed parts are priced by the cost of materials only. 

The Rapid Prototyping Studio 3D printers are operated by RP Studio staff and trained student employees. (See file-submission instructions below.) Most parts are completed within seven days or fewer. It's important to learn how printing processes work.

The 3D printing process does not mean any 3D model can be printed; real constraints, tolerances, costs, tensile strengths, and compression strengths are all factors. 

It's important to determine whether a 3D printer is the right tool for your project as well as how to select the right 3D printer.

Apearence models, basic prototypes use zcorp or objet blue; moving/mechanical parts; HD models, final prototypes use objet -- any color, clear or rubbers.

Cost ranges from approximately $5 per cubic inch (zcorp/objet blue) up to $20 per cubic inch (clear and rubbers) depending on amount of support material used.

Printing Costs

Measuring the volume of your model can be done in Rhino, Solidworks, or Magics.  Cost Calculations vary depending on build and support material used. A RP Monitor will assist you in calculation the printing cost of your model:

Zcorp printer: model volume x $ per cubic inch + cost of cyanoacrylate (if used)= total cost

Objet printer: model volume x $ per gram + support volume x $ per gram = total cost

Printer Details


Good for printing large objects, molds and forms, high-quality model

$5/cubic inch
Material: Plaster like material
Maximum build: 10” x 10” x 8”
Minimum thickness: 2mm (1/16”) for small models, 2-5 mm for larger models


  • support material can be reused
  • models can be printed in fine detail
  • can be sanded, paintes, air-brushed after cured
  • mimics feel of ceramic/plaster/stone


  • hardened models are strong, but edges are brittle
  • models are heavy and inflexible
  • models are fragile and must be cured with EZbond

* When a part is finished in the ZCorp printer, it is very delicate and must be infiltrated (reinforced) with cyanoacrylate (pink label ezbond, sold in the ARCH store). 

Our staff is trained to carefully remove parts without damaging them; however, small, thin, or delicate parts may break during the removal process from the printer due to the fragile nature of the printed material. 

Students who wish to print model outside of recommended minimum size/thickness, may do so; however, unexpected results may occur. Such parts wil incur normal costs associated with any requested reprints.

Objet Printers (Eden, Prime, Objet30)

Good for printing small, thin, or highly detailed models with functional moving parts.

$0.15/gram for support material (approx $5 per cubic inch)
$0.15/gram for blue model material> (approx $5 per cubic inch)
$0.35/gram for black, gray, white, translucent
$0.50/gram for rubber and clear model material 
Material: nylon-like composite plastic
Maximum build: 13” x 12” x 7” (for white or translucent only), maximum builds: 5” x 7” x 9" (for all colors, clear and rubbers)


  • models are fully cured, no finishing required
  • can print complex shapes, forms, and geometries
  • prints in paper-thin layers for detailed prototypes
  • design moving parts and joints


  • support material not reusable; increases print cost
  • removal of support material is time consuming
  • strong but brittle  will snap/break if flexed too far
  • heat sensitive, will melt/warp  above 40C/104F

3D Print File Submission, Payment & Pickup

Files must be 3D models saved or exported as an .STL filetype. This is a mesh filetype, so it will turn curved NURBS (Rhino, Solidworks) surfaces into faceted surfaces. 

Learn more about STL (mesh) files on McNeel Wiki. Use a USB drive or upload your file to your Google Drive, then drop off the file with an RP Studio monitor for it to be added to the print queue. 

Studio monitors will calculate the cost of your print(s) and take payment. Payment is required when submitting your file. 

Only cash (exact change) or checks are accepted. 

File-Naming Convention

Use this template to name your files: printer_material*_firstname_lastname_partname_#copies.STL

Example: eden_clear_john_doe_hammer_x5.stl

File Preparation

Using RhinoSolid Works (or other 3D modeling software), a model can be prepared for 3D printing. Use T-splines or Magics to check your file for errors before printing.

Use the following checklist to determine if your file is ready:

  1. Parts are solid ("water tight," no open edges)
    A completely closed object is required, meaning the mesh completely encloses a volume, with no holes, gaps, or overlaps.

    We sometimes speak of this as a “watertight solid.”

    In addition, some processes require that only one object (volume) in the file. Again, a completely closed object is required, meaning the mesh completely encloses a volume, with no holes, gaps, or overlaps.

    The .STL file has been checked/repaired in Magics (available in the computer labs, where you can also download a brief tutorial). 

  2. Only one object is in each file
    The only exception is if parts are to be printed with moving parts (e.g., a gear on an axle -- parts should be separated by some space to move after printing). 
  3. Check the size of the modeled part(s)
    Parts must be less than the maximum bed size of the printer being used (see printers below).
  4. Check thickness of parts for the printer being used
    Minimum thickness for the machine being used. (30/30 Prime 0.01"; Eden: 0.03”; ; ZCorp: 0.125”)

Local Print Services

With the increasing adoption of 3D printing by design disciplines, the demand is heavy before final presentations. Machines break down or the queue fills up.

Local Resources

329 Jefferson Street, Oakland
plastic resin - ABS (dissolvable support)

2325 Third Street Suite 208, San Francisco
plastic resin 

981 Howard Street, San Francisco
color plaster - ABS (dissolvable support)
contact: Jeremy Luebker

shipping service
3431 Louise Street, Oakland
white/colored plaster, plastics, gold plate, stainless steel, etc. (full list)

shipping service
plastics (textured, colored, elastic), metals (steel, sterling silver, brass, bronze, gold, etc.), color sandstone, ceramics, castable wax, etc. (full list)