Makers' Lab Getting Started Guides

3D printing

Hardware: Lulzbot Mini2

IMG_2778Software: 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.

To print, we use lulzbot Cura slicing software if you want to check your print time but otherwise it is not necessary to download as all prints will be submitted via email.

Uses: We use PLA in our lulzbot which heats up and melts to create your design! Because we only have one printer, we do not allow patrons to make large prints or to use the printer continuously all day. Designs are limited to 2 inches squared. Keep in mind, you can split designs into several files if you have something larger you want to make, but they will each be treated individually by our staff. To have your design printed send the completed .STL file to and we will print on a first come, first served basis. Due to demand, prints can take up to two weeks. After your creation is finished, we’ll shoot you an email to come pick it up!

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!