Makers' Lab Getting Started Guides

General 3D Printer and Laser Cutter Information:

Due to the longer print times for these machines, they are unable to run during Open Hours. Here's how to get started on using the machines:

  • Laser Cutter users must attend a Laser Cut Design class prior to
    sending a laser job.
  • The Buda Public Library accepts 3D print and Laser Cutter requests through e-mail. E-mail file to
  • Print jobs will be completed in the order that they are received. Due to possible demand, it may several weeks for submissions to be printed. Jobs and prices will be confirmed prior to printing.
  • Once completed, Library Staff will notify the applicant by email that their object is ready for pick-up.
  • Requested 3D prints must be submitted as an STL file. Laser Cut files must be sent as a SVG.
  • Library print programs take precedence over other print runs, so submitting a request around the same time as a program may result in a delay of printing.
  • Each job will be completed along with other jobs in a first come, first serve manner
  • For projects that go over time constraints, users may be asked to divide up the job and send it one at a time.

3D Printing Specifications

  • Requested 3D prints must be submitted as an STL file
  • Print Area 6.3” x 6.3” x 7.09”
  • Jobs must not exceed 2.5-3 hours
  • Filament costs $0.05 per gram

Laser Cutter Specifications:

Laser Cutting

Hardware: Glowforge Plus

The library hosts a monthly training to create laser cut files. Once you've completed the training, you may make an appointment to use the machines with staff assistance. Virtual jobs can also be processed by sending your file to Caitlin at Virtual jobs will be accepted one at a time and users must wait until one job is finished to send another.

Our laser cutter is very popular and often has a job queue. Once you e-mail for an apopintment, we will let you know approximately how long the wait will be. It can take 2 weeks or longer to receive a job.

What can I create with the Laser Cutter?

Cut, Score, and Engrave using the Glowforge Plus! There are so many projects you can create. To get started, we recommend browsing through tutorials provided by Glowforge:

Materials that can be cut on Glowforge: Glowforge can cut wood, fabric, leather, Plexiglas (acrylic), and more. Any non-proofgrade materials must be approved by staff, we recommend prior to purchase.

Designing for Laser Cutting: The biggest learning curve with laser cutting is creating your design! We have a variety of recommended software depending on what type of job you are creating. Glowforge has a variety of tutorials for preparing projects here: It is required that users take our monthly Laser Cut Design class to send jobs or make an appointment.

Software that we use at the library and it's uses: 

Google Drawings: This software is very easy to use for simple designs and text. Designs are able to be cut, scored, or engraved.

Inkscape: This is a more complex software but we love it for personalizing jobs that need to be cut or scored! You can also convert images into vectors easily. Check out there list of tutorials here: Inkscape is free to download and use.

GIMP: GIMP is a photo design software. This is a great tool to use to prep a photo for engraving. Find instructions here:

3D printing

Hardware: Lulzbot Mini2

Software: Any 3D CAD modeling software. A good beginner tool is Tinkercad (free web-based app) but you many use any software you choose such as AutoCAD (free education download here), MakerBot, etc.  Detailed tutorials are available on each software’s website.

Uses: We use PLA in our lulzbot which heats up and melts to create your design! 

Compatible Materials: PLA plastic filament is biodegradable and non-toxic.



There is no cost to use the machine but filament costs $0.05 per gram.

Button Maker

Hardware: Tecre Button Maker 1.25" and Tecre Button Maker 2.5"


Steps for using:

  • Identify the crimp die and the pickup die 
  • Rotate the die table so that the crimp die is positioned under the upper die
  • Insert the shell into the pickup die with the sharp edge facing downward
  • Place graphic in shell, line up the top of the graphic with the center column for correct orientation
  • Place mylar on top of graphic
  • Rotate the die table one half turn clockwise until the pickup die is located under the upper die
  • Pull the handle down as far as it will go and raise back up to its rest position
  • Place a pinned back into the crimp die with the sharp edge facing up
  • Line up the top of the pinned back slightly to the right of the center column for correct orientation
  • Rotate the die table one half turn counter clockwise until the crimp die is positioned under the upper die
  • Pull the handle down as far as it will go and raise back up to its rest position
  • Rotate the die table clockwise again to remove the finished button


The Button Maker creates buttons with a size of 1.25 inches. Some of this area will go into the sides of the button and will not be viewable. Here is a layout that works for our button maker. We find that using a size of 1.5" also works.


Paper Vinyl Cutting Machine

Hardware: Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker (see what Cricut can do!)

IMG_2687 (1)

Create and edit your designs online!

Uses: This machine work like an X-acto knife on wheels. It cuts your digital designs out of 100 different two-dimensional materials up to 12 inches wide (things like paper, vinyl, fabric, leather, etc.). You can also swap out the blade for a pen and use it to draw designs onto material. The software allows you to create your own designs from scratch, buy designs from the Cricut Store, and more!

Compatible Materials: paper, cardstock, craft foam, vinyl decal, heat transfer sheets (for t-shirt and fabric decor), temporary tattoo sheets, fabric, leather, glitter paper, and Circuit Scribe conductive ink pens. For a list of materials that work with the machine, please consult the Cricut website. Materials can be purchased online or at local craft supply stores (e.g., Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, Michael’s).


  • Create a design in Cricut Design.
  • Choose your material and prepare the cutting mat.
  • Prepare Cricut machine by manually loading mat and setting ratchet blade depth for your material.
  • Send the design to the Cricut machine for cutting. Be sure the area is clear behind the Cricut so the cutting mat can pass through the machine.
  • Please clean up your materials and area after you’re finished.

Need inspiration? Learn to use Cricut Design Space with Circulation Lead, Amy!