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3D Printing Tutorial

Printing with MakerBot

Go to MakerBot desktop, open explore- For searching models, use the search bar in extreme right.


For preparing models - Click on prepare tab (marked in red).



Click on add file to add any supported file.


Select file- The selected print job is shown below.




Go to MakerBot desktop, open settings:

There are 3 settings available under the quality tab, as low standard and high. The quality settings decides the time of the print job, thus, if the size of the object is large, low-standard print settings are recommended. For intricate structures, high quality settings is recommended.


The other parameter is the layer height, for large objects, layer height should be around .25-.3 mm. if making a shell, the layer height should be around .2 or so, depending on the thickness of the shell. If the shell is too thin, it will split with layer height.- as shown below.


It should be noted that, the shorter the layer height, the greater will be the strength of the model.

Furthermore, if greater strength is required in the model, the infill % should be close to 50%, however, the cost of the print job will become higher as on would increase the infill %.

Hexagonal infill, 50%(left)  vs 10% (right)


Adding and Modifying Support Structures- Goto settings , check supports to have supports ready for the print job-In this tutorial, we will explain everything you need to know about support structures. These thin, breakaway structures are used to support steep overhangs and cantilevered sections of your model. The Support Generation Tool makes it easy to add, move, or delete supports.  The supports appear as individual pillars in the software, but are constructed as a network of interconnected pieces for easy removal from your model.

When to Use Supports


When do you need supports?  Supports are used when models have steep overhangs or unsupported areas.  For example, if you printed an arch, the very center of this arch might require support material because when your printer tries to print that top layer, there would be nothing else supporting it from below. If you tried to print this arch without support material, you might notice that the top layers of the arch seem to sag and droop because there is nothing to support the molten plastic as it is extruded out of the nozzle. A general rule of thumb is that most extrusion-based printers can support overhang angles less than 45 degrees. At these shallow angles, the majority of the plastic layer is supported by the previous layer below it. If you go to steeper overhang angles, you might start to notice the edges of your layer begin to deform, and that is when you might want to consider adding support material to the part.


To begin, let’s look at a common model that can help identify what types of overhang angles your printer can support. If you try to print this part on your machine, you will probably notice that the 60-70 degree sections will not be as smooth as you would like. The performance of these overhangs will depend on your layer height, temperature, material, and several other factors, but this test part will help establish a useful baseline of what types of angles your machine can support. As an example, let’s assume that your massive overhang test print shows that any angle greater than 45 degrees would start to require support material. We will use this information in the next part of the tutorial.

The structural integrity of the print jobs can be checked using these softwares( for .stl files)-

  1. 123D Design :Easy 3D modeling for Web, Mac, and PC

  2. 123D Make : Unique 3D models from 2D slices

Failures- failed Iphone 6 cover



The above picture shows an example of an object printed without support. It should be noted that , by changing the orientation of the print job, such problems can be avoided. Another way of avoiding failures is by dividing the job into multiple parts, as shown below. However, dividing the job into parts takes extra time. On the other hand if the print job is printed with supports ‘on’,the material consumption will be more. In some cases, support structure can take up to 60% of the material for some cases, on the contrary, some structures will be better if printed with supports rather than printed separately. Hence deciding the right orientation is important, the weight of the print job can be found in the print preview section in the MakerBot desktop.Examples with the han solo iPhone case have been demonstrated below.


han solo 2.PNG


han solo 1.PNG

As it can be noticed that the second orientation has the least amount of material consumption as well as the time of completion of the job. Thus, the orientation of the print job plays a vital role in avoiding failures and reducing the cost of printing.

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