San Diego

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Innovation Lab

Located on the Third Floor of Central Library

   The Innovation Lab is closed until further notice. We do offer 3D Print by Request Service, please see below for more details.

Innovation Lab

Innovation Lab
Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common
330 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Regular Hours

Monday Temporarily Closed
Tuesday Temporarily Closed
Wednesday Temporarily Closed
Thursday Temporarily Closed
Friday Temporarily Closed
Saturday Temporarily Closed
Sunday Closed

3D Print by Request

We are excited to offer 3D Print by Request service! Send us your 3D designs and get them printed for pickup at the Central Library. Questions? Email lab staff at: weblibrary@sandiego.gov or call us at 619-236-5800.
3D Print by Request Procedures
  • Complete 3D Print Request form (all fields are required to process your request).
  • Send request form and .STL file to weblibrary@sandiego.gov.
    File name should read: Your First_Last Name_Date Submitted_Model Name.stl
    Example: Jane_Doe_1.2.20_thebestmodelever.stl
  • Files will be printed in the order in which they are received.
  • 3D print model must be in .STL format.
  • Turnaround time for print requests will be at least one week, you will be notified when print is ready for pickup.
  • Prints must be picked up at the holds pick up desk (Station #3) at the Central Library.
  • 3-hour print time limit per week.
  • Multi-Part Prints: Please submit separate requests for each part of your project.
  • The library staff reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.
  • Staff cannot guarantee model quality or stability, color, nor confidentiality of designs.
    Note: Staff do not remove rafts and supports


Our lab is now located on the third floor of the Central Library in the northeast corner. The lab is about four times larger than the original space.
Our Innovation Lab was originally funded by a state Library Services and Technology Act grant in 2013 when we opened the Central Library. Since then, thanks to generous donations from our community, we've been able to slowly expand the lab to add additional machines. The new space was funded in part by the California State Library. 

Upcoming Events

  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display
  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display
  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display
  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display
  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display
  • San Diego Library Pride Month Display

Lab Policy

  • Patrons are expected to comply with all Library Rules of Conduct.
  • Machines are available for use on a first come first served basis unless an appointment is made ahead of time.
  • Patrons are responsible for bringing all their own materials with the exception of 3D printing filament and library workshops.
  • Patrons must check in with staff before using any machine. Staff and volunteers are on hand to assist you with machine use.
  • The library reserves the rights to close down the lab at anytime for programs or maintenance with little or no notice.

Innovation Lab at the Central Library


To make an appointment:

  • Stop by our lab to get estimate on how long it'll take to print your object.
  • Contact us to make an appointment at: weblibrary@sandiego.gov
For large objects, we recommend that you stop by the lab first to get an estimate of how long it'll take, then make an appointment. We also recommend that you make your appointment at least one week in advance.
3D prints printed in the Innovation Lab


3D Printing & Scanning

Using 3D Printers

  • You can have one item printed per day up to 2 hours a day.
  • For print jobs longer than 2 hours, appointment is required (minimum 1 week notice would be ideal)
  • Patron must bring in .stl file format for objects to be printed. It is recommended that you bring your laptop with you, in case you need to make 3D design changes prior to printing.
  • All files will be inspected and sliced by lab volunteer/staff prior to printing.
  • Only Lab staff/volunteers can operate the 3D printers.
  • Computers in lab are for scanning and slicing 3D objects only.

Cost of Printing & Information on Filament

  • 3D printing & 3D scanning are free at Central Library at this time. However, we do require patrons stay in the Lab and monitor their prints.

Printers & Scanners

Resources & Support

Technology Software Resources List

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment and educational purposes. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality.

Using Virtual Reality in the Lab

  • All patrons are required to read, fill and sign an "Acknowledgment, Waiver, and Release"  form in-person, for each session, prior to using VR. Patrons under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or legal guardian present, to read, fill and sign the form. Please review Oculus Terms of Service and PDF icon HTC Vive Health and Safety Guide.
  • VR experiences are recommended for ages 13 and older.
  • Sessions are limited to 20 minutes per day on a first come basis.
  • Available experiences are at the discretion of library staff.

VR Stations

What else is VR used for?

  • Employee Training.
  • Help paraplegics regain body functions.
  • Treat PTSD via exposure therapy.
  • Treat fear and anxiety.
  • Help children and teens with autism develop social skills.
  • Better model architects’ and other 3D designs.
  • Help immobile older adults experience the world.
  • Business and sales.
  • And more!

Silhouette Cameos | Vinyl Cutters

Using the Silhouette Cameos

  • The library provides access to the Sketch pens, ratchet blade, and fabric blade. Please bring your own project materials.
  • Silhouette Cameos will accept files: .studio3, .dxf, .jpg, .pdf, .gif, and .gsp.
  • Materials can be up to 12" wide. Length is limited to 12" for paper and can be longer for certain materials.
  • To use the Silhouette, users must have files imported into Silhouette Studio to communicate with the machine. 

Resources & Support

Technology Software Resources List

Classes & Workshops:

Silhouette Cameo Uses:

  • Silhouette Cameos can cut and draw on different types of materials. 
  • Card making or scrapbooking.
  • Make custom vinyl decals.
  • Make stencils for glass etching or screen printing.
  • Cut fabric for custom textile projects.
  • And more!

Sewing Machines

Two sewing machines were originally funded by a mini grant from MIT Club of San Diego to support STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Education. The machines will be used to teach wearable electronics and soft circuit workshops. They will also be available for public us in our lab.
Now the Maker Lab has 8 sewing machines and a serger!

Using the Sewing Machines

  • Patrons must be trained to operate the machine prior to using the machine. Please bring your own project materials.

Sewing Machines

Brother LB6800PRW | Project Runway™ Limited Edition Combination Machine
  • Import Designs Directly from your Computer
  • 70 built-in embroidery designs, 5 embroidery fonts and 120 frame pattern combinations
  • 67 built-in sewing stitches with 98 stitch functions
  • Large 4” x 4” embroidery area
Brother HC1850 | 130-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine with Built-in Sewing Font & Wide Table
  • 130 built-in stitches, including 8 one-step auto-size buttonhole styles
  • 1 built-in monogramming sewing font, perfect for basic monogramming
  • 170 stitch functions for garment construction, quilting, decorative and heirloom sewing
Brother CS6000i | 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine with Wide Table
  • LCD display with easy-to-use stitch selector
  • 60 built-in stitches including and 7 styles of 1-step auto-size buttonholes
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Electronic variable speed control


Brother Homelock 1034D | 3/4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed
  • Two needles and 3-4 thread
  • Versatile stitch options allow you to choose from 4 thread overlock, 3 thread overlock, narrow hem, rolled hem, and ribbon lock stitches.
  • Fast, up to 1300 stitches per minute
  • The stitch width can be easily adjusted between 3.00mm to 7.00mm, helping to provide the perfect stitch width for your project

Resources & Support

CNC Milling Machine

Using the Carvey Milling Machine

  • The Maker Lab currently has a Carvey CNC Milling Machine by Inventables.
  • Library provides access to some drill bits, however, it's recommended that you bring your own bit if you have a specialized project. Please bring your own project materials.
  • Files must be .svg.
  • To use the Carvey, users must have files imported into Easel to communicate with the machine. 

Things you can make/cut with the Carvey:

  • PCB Circuit boards
  • Wooden toys/signs/etc.
  • Stamps
  • Aluminum 
  • ABS Plastic
  • Machine Wax
  • and more!


The following technology software resources list is compiled to provide you with suggestions for web-based, downloadable, open source, freeware and low-cost software to use on your personal devices.

Open Source 3D Modeling Software

AutoDesk Fusion 360 - 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. It connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac & PC.
Blender - Home of the Blender project - Free and Open 3D Creation Software.
Design Spark - Resources & tools to aid engineers in design process.
OnShape - CAD system. Eliminates design gridlock & helps engineers do their best work.
OpenSCAD - Create solid 3D CAD objects. Available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows/Mac OS X.
Sculptris - Sculpting software program, focus on the concept of modeling clay.
SketchUp - 3D modeling software that's easy to learn and incredibly fun to use.
Thingiverse - Download files and build them with your laser cutter, 3D printer, or CNC.
TinkerCAD - 3D CAD design tool. Quickly turn ideas into a CAD model for a 3D printer.

3D Splicing Software for Printing

Simplify3D - Compatible with hundreds of 3D printers. See videos.
MakerBot Print - Free software to prepare, manage, and share 3D prints.
Ultimaker Cura - Ultimaker Cura prepares your model for 3D printing.

Open Source Electronic Prototyping

Arduino - Enabling users to create interactive electronic object.

Computer Programming

Code Academy - An online freemium interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages (Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, markup languages HTML and CSS).
Hopscotch - An app that helps people learn how to code through a visual language. Optimized for coding games. The programming language centers around "blocks" that you drag and drop to build routines.
Raspberry Pi - A tiny and affordable computer. Learn programming.
Scratch - Create your own interactive stories, games, & animations.

Web Development

CodePen - A social development environment. Allows you to write code in the browser, and see the results of it as you build. A useful and liberating tool for developers of any skill, and particularly empowering for people learning to code. Focusing on front-end languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and preprocessing syntaxes that turn into those things.
Coffeecup - Responsive Web Design Tools and HTML Software.
W3Schools - A web developers site, with tutorials and references on web development languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Python, W3.CSS, and Bootstrap), covering most aspects of web programming.

Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP - A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Inkscape - Professional quality vector graphics software (Linux, Mac OS X & Windows).
Krita - Raster graphics editor, designed primarily for digital painting & animation.
Silhouette Studio - Design & send to Silhouette electronic cutting machine.

Open Source Video Editors

DaVinci Resolve - Professional offline and online editing, color correction, audio post production and now visual effects.
Lightworks - Professional non-linear editing system for editing and mastering digital video in vari-ous formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions, and television in PAL, NTSC, and high-definition formats.
Shotcut - Cross-platform video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Photo Editors

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor - Get all the essential tools, including Lightroom and Photoshop, for crafting incredible images every day.
Fotor - Free online designer and editing tool catering to all your photographic and image creation needs! Add filters, frames, text, stickers and more.
GIMP - Free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Pixlr Editor - A free robust browser photo editor. Have full control over your images, including layers and effects.

Free CNC Milling Software

Easel - 3D Carving Made Easy. Design, import, and carve for free from a single program with Easel.

Project Ideas & Resources

Instructables - Learn how to make anything with Instructables. Easy to follow step-by-step instructions, online classes, and a vibrant maker community.
Inventables Projects - Inventables: the hardware store for designers. We help designers buy the products they need.
MAKE - Celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.