There were a lot of folks I scanned at the Westport Maker Faire who wanted to come in and use the library’s 3D printer to print themselves out. If you don’t want to do that, you can always commission me to do a high quality print for you
, but as promised I am putting up a quick tutorial on how to print one yourself.
Step 1- find your model to print
The first thing is to find your file and download it from the project page on Thingiverse
. Your model will be a 3D .stl file. To prepare it for printing, it must be converted to instructions for a 3d printer. This process is known as slicing.
Step 2: Slicing
Because the library’s machines are Makerbots, we reccommend using Makerware software
to prep files for printing. First, click the “Add” button and place the model on the build platform. The software has a move tool to bring it to the center if need be. Next, scale the model using the scale tool. My models are sized proportionally to someone 6’tall being ~144mm, so all my prints will print on a makerbot. Most kids are ~120mm give or take, so their files should be a good size as is. Because the library is a shared facility, we recommend sizing models to be between 110 and 120mm tall (Star Wars action figure sized). This will keep your print times to between 1 and 2 hours if you print at medium quality. Here you can see I am sizing this model to be ~ 115 mm tall:
When you’re done placing and sizing, its time to hit the “make” button. Below you can see the print dialogue you will now see. First select the printer you are printing with- Replicator 1 or Replicator 2. Next select the quality settings. I recommend you use the default medium settings (A 120mm print should print in less than 1 1/2 hours). My prints are high quality, .1mm layers, but these will often take as long as 5 hours to print so I don’t recommend this setting for in the library.
Some prints will need support turned on- for example: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:82843
needs support for the hands that are hanging down. If you need support, check the checkbox for support, but be prepared for cleaning the support off with an exacto knife later.
Finally, export the print file and load it on the printer. If the computer is attached to the printer, you can select the “Make it now” radio button up top, otherwise, select “Export to a file” and copy the file to an SD card that you put in the printer.
Step 3: Printing
After you hit print, watch the first few layers. You want to be sure that they stick to the platform. As long as the print adheres to the platform at the beginning, you should be good to go. Kick back and wait for the awesomeness to arrive- Good Luck!