3D Printers

Downloadable Quick Reference Guide


Slack: #space-3dprinting

Email: 3dprinting@makeitlabs.com

Resource Managers:

Bill Schongar (Prusa, Lulzbot Mini, ZCorp, Stratsys Dimension, MCor)

Paul Hardin (Makerbot, Prusa)

Available printers

Prusa i3 MK3

    • This is a general use, space-owned printer

    • It prints in almost any material and uses 1.75mm filament (Brands: Hatchbox, AIO and Prusa filament approved for use)

      • For ABS printing we recommend the Stratsys Dimension, see below

    • Training is provided by the Resource managers

      • If you are authorized for the Makerbot or Robo 3D R1+ you may use this printer after reading all instructions

Makerbot Replicator 2

  • This is a member-owned resource, and with proper training can be used with permission.

  • It prints in PLA, has a single extruder and uses 1.75mm filament

  • Please see this printer's Resources link for lots of details on this printer

  • Training is provided by the owner (Paul.Hardin@makeitlabs.com)

Flashforge Finders

  • These are general-use, space-owned printers with small build areas (5x5x5)

  • They ONLY print in PLA and use 1.75mm filament

  • The "farm" setup is intended to allow rapid creation of multiple individual items for events, demos or fun

  • These printers use Flashforge Print to prepare files for printing

  • Training is provided by the Resource Managers

    • If you are authorized for the Makerbot, Prusa or Robo3D you are only required to take a 10 minute basic use orientation

Zprinter 450

    • This is a "General Use" space-owned 3D printer with a moderate size build area (8x7x6)

    • It prints in full color using a powder and binding agent

    • There are fees associated with printing on this printer

    • Training is provided by the Resource Manager

Lulzbot Mini (Being set up as "experimental" materials printer as of October 2019)

  • This is a general use, space-owned printer with a reasonably small build area (4x4x4)

  • It is primarily for PLA and PETG, and uses 3mm filament (Brands: Hatchbox, Prusa approved, others inquire)

  • Training is provided by the Resource Managers

Robo 3D R1+ (Available Mid-December 2018)

  • This is a general-use, space-owned printer with a reasonably large build area (8x8x8)

  • It prints primarily in PLA and PETG

  • Training is provided by the Resource managers

      • If you are authorized for the Makerbot or Prusa you may use this printer after reading all instructions

Stratasys Dimension 1200ES

  • These are special purpose, ABS only printers intended for final versions of parts or special long-running jobs

  • These are the only printers in the space that will be available for unattended (eg overnight, over weekend) builds

  • There are fees to use these printers, but they are minor, to cover materials and electricity

  • These printers use Grabcad Print to prepare files for printing

  • These printers have a fixed Z resolution of .254mm

  • Training is provided by the Resource Managers

3D Touch (BFB) (RETIRED)

  • This is a "General Use" space-owned 3D printer

  • It prints in both ABS and PLA, has two extruders, and uses 3mm filament

    • Training is provided by the Resource Managers

      • John Spitz (John.Spitz@makeitlabs.com)

      • Bill Schongar (Bill.Schongar@makeitlabs.com)

Getting started

  1. Contact the resource manager(s) for the Printer(s) you'd like to use

  2. Attend a training class

  3. Print

3D Design Software

Anything that exports a valid STL file can be used. Some commonly used packages include:

    • Autodesk's Fusion 360 (Free for non-commercial use, can be used with CNC and others as well)

    • Sketchup (Free, requires STL exporter add-on)

    • Tinkercad (Free, online)

    • OnShape (Free version available, but makes all designs _publically viewable_)

Preparing a design for printing - "Slicers"

Training for each printer will provide specifics on how to prepare a file for printing, but all leverage software that controls how the printer creates layers or "slices" that make up the object. The general term for this type of software is a "slicer".

    • Simplify3D - A Commercial slicer that works with many printers.

      • This will soon replace the "Axon" slicer for the BFB printer (Hurrah!)

      • Coming soon: Simplify3D profile and instructions for use with BFB

    • Axon 2 - A BFB-specific slicer that is old and slow, but functional for common parts

    • MakerWare/MakerBot Print - Slicers for the Makerbot printers

    • 3D Print - 3D Systems proprietary slicer for ZPrinter 450

Common Questions

1) How long does training take?

The Basic Training for the 3D Touch printer takes less than 30 minutes. At this point you'll be able to print most items which do not have any special considerations.

2) What do you mean "special considerations"?

There's a long list, and you'll learn in the class. In general it means:

    • You won't be qualified to change the filament (you're stuck with whatever colors and types are loaded)

    • You won't be well-versed in how to fix a "broken" 3d model you download off the internet

    • Changes to certain machine settings, such as material temperature, must be made by a resource manager

3) What does it cost to print something?

For the extrusion based printers, nothing, but if you're using a lot of filament you should donate to the space to help cover filament costs so we don't run out. Remember that many other spaces charge by the hour or the gram; we don't want to have to do that.

For the Zprinter 450, cost is based on amount of material used, and you will be invoiced after your print. Pricing can be found here

As a cost guideline, during training you'll see how the software automatically calculates both the build time and the materials cost. This can be used to give you an idea of how much your print is costing the space.

4) How long does it take to print something?

It's not quick. Large prints can take hours. So don't use the 3D printer to make something that could easily be cut on the Laser... it's not an efficient use of your time. Build time estimates are provided by the software, as you'll see in class, so you'll know ahead of time how long it will take.

5) Do I have to reserve the printer?

There is currently no reservation system for the 3D Touch printer. If you have a specific need or availability, contact the resource managers and something may be possible.

6) Can I print multiple colors or materials?

The 3D Touch is a dual-extruder model, and can print two different materials (or different colors of the same material). If you have not taken Advanced training for the 3D Touch, you are not authorized to change the filament or filament settings; Contact a resource manager for help.

The Zprinter 450 prints in full color, but only one material (plaster).

7) I want to print in (odd color here) - Do we have that?

Assume the answer is "no". No special consideration for material color is available unless material has been donated, so if you have a specific need your best bet is to contact the Resource Managers and discuss the need. They will then help you find compatible material that you can purchase and use on the printer, with the help of a qualified individual to change the filament and settings.

8) I want to print in (random filament type I read about on the interwebz). Can I do that?

Contact the resource manager(s). If it's compatible and you supply the material, it may be possible... but don't buy any special filament before talking to the resource manager(s)!

9) Do I need to be physically in the space when printing?

Yes, or have someone watching the print for you. It does not need to be watched closely - just check at reasonable intervals to make sure nothing's going wrong. That way if something is wrong you can stop the job before either filament is wasted or the printer is damaged.

The Zprinter 450 can be run unattended at your own risk. You will still be charged for failed prints, unless the failure is due to an equipment issue (ex: machine breaks down mid print).