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3D Printer Notes.


I used to be a member at a local maker space (it's since closed) where they had certification classes for their 3D printers. Here are the notes I took during that class, and while working with the printer a half dozen times or so. The shop had MakerBot Replicator2s, and so your mileage may vary for other 3D printers.

The MakerBot Replicator2 uses fused filament or PLA type material. A "voxel" is a 3D pixel; .04mm for this machine. It will overcome a 45° overhang of empty space. The base material is food-safe, but printed things can't be food-safe because they're so porous that they can't reliably be cleaned. You can paint or finish printed things.

Set up:

From the Repbot's menu, choose Utilities, then Level.

  1. Pull out the .09 fin from the level gauge.
  2. Slide the gauge between the Repbot's nozzle and the build plate. Adjust the plate up or down using the screws underneath the plate (directly below the nozzle) until the level slides between nozzle and plate with just a wee bit of friction. The screws release tension on the page; less tension means the plate moves up.
  3. Push Repbot's M button to advance to the next point. Repeat above 2 more times.

It's OK to just set the first 3 points, and then skip the rest of the set-up.


Makerware on the host computer can import .stl or .obj file formats. You can also use an SD card directly in the Repbot.

  1. Choose File > Make it
    • Choose Low, Standard or High. (Higher resolution is slower.)
    • Check or uncheck Rafts (physical "helper" structures that help the printer overcome physical overhangs) and Supports (scaffolding for negative space. These scaffolds are meant to be removed from the item after it's printed.
  2. Check Preview before printing. The preview will show you how long the print will take.
  3. Make It!
  4. In Quality, set the Infill and Number of Shells.

Useful Commands

To customize the infill pattern for your print: Try catfill!


Export: gcode, slices only. In Makerware, File > Make from File. Or just bring it into Makerware.


Other related software: