The Campbell Commons MakerSpace features a MakerBot Replicator (5th Gen) 3D printer for students use!
How to Use Our 3D Printer
1) Get yourself a 3D model:
- Download a Model: You can find thousands of models online to download. Thingiverse.com models are easy to use with our printer, but you can also just use a search engine. Here is a great list of special purpose 3D model sites.
- Create a Model: You can also create a model from scratch using 3D modeling software. TinkerCAD is an online 3D modeling tool from AutoDesk (the makers of AutoCAD). AutoDesk also makes all of its professional CAD and 3D modeling software available to students and teachers for free.
- Remix a Model: Download models, then use the 3D modeling tools above to combine, edit, and modify them to suit your purposes.
Your 3D model will need to be in .STL or .OBJ format.
2) Create a 3D print job:
Before printing, your 3D model will need to be converted to a format the printer can understand. This process, called “slicing,” creates a set of instructions for the printer to follow: You specify how big the model should be printed, how it should be oriented on the build plate, and how the printer should handle solid areas (infill) and overhangs (supports). The software will then “slice” the job into layers that the printer will build. We have several slicing software options:
- Makerbot Cloud Print: Anyone can use this online software to upload an STL file and download a .MAKERBOT file that works with our printer. Just follow these instructions.
- Makerbot Print: The desktop version of Makerbot Print can be used to create .MAKERBOT files or to print directly to the printer. It allows a little more control of settings than the cloud version.
- Simplify3D: The learning commons also has a license for Simplify3D, an advanced third-party slicing software tool. Ask Mr. Spinks for details about using this software.
3) Start printing:
First, make sure the printer is ready:
- The build plate is empty
- The blue build plate tape is in good shape
- The filament you wish to use is loaded
- There are no error messages on the printer’s screen
If you are using the computer attached to the 3D printer, you can start the print job directly from the Makerbot Print desktop software. Otherwise, you will need to save your print job onto a flash drive as a .MAKERBOT file. (Make sure the flash drive doesn’t have a lot of other files on it, and make sure it’s one you don’t mind leaving unattended for a few hours. If you don’t have one to spare, we have one you can borrow.)
Insert your flash drive with the .MAKERBOT file into the printer. Navigate to the print menu and choose USB storage. Find your file, and start printing. The printer will give you an estimated time, with times usually ranging from 20 minutes to 6 hours.