So... You bought a Maker-Bot 3D printer and have no clue how to use it... Well that's ok neither did I or any of the people I know did as well. Now I am just gonna go ahead and save you the few hours worth of trail and error to figure it out. You are gonna need a few things for this also...
Things you are going to need:
-A Maker-Bot Replicator 2 3D
-A computer, preferably one running Windows
-A SD card
-Somesort of 3D modeling software (I shall be using Auto-desk Inventor)
You got those things? No? That's ok, I can wait. You back? Awesome! Lets get started!
Step 1: Think of What You Wanna Make.
The hardest step of this journey is to think of something you wanna make... Or you bought the printer because you already knew what you wanted to make, but still.
Try and think of something that is practical and simple, a Replicator 2 can only spew one plastic at a time so you can't you use ABS (It is a type of soluble plastic) to build removable supports.
I just went with a Pawn, my chess set could use some more.
Step 2: Now Actually Design the Part in Your 3D Modeling Software.
Hopefully you already know how to use modeling software, because I do NOT want to explain the ins and outs of it. There are literal classes made about these pieces of software.
Here is a link to a nice professional video explaining Auto-desk Inventor a bit:
Oh no... Why aren't you up there watching the video?! Please don't... Please... Aw son-of-a-gun...
To start your Model in Auto-desk Inventor hit "New Project", then press what ever type of file your computer accepts the best. For me its an .IPT file type.
Then start a new 2D sketch. Sketches are where all 3D models come from. Then using the various tools (Line, rectangle, circle, arc, and so on) create a sketch of the thing you want to print. I did a half sketch because my pawn had a lot of curves.
Then, using the extruded or the revolve tool, make the sketch into a model.
Now go into that files settings, make sure that you switch the units that the file uses from Inches to Millimeters. The Maker-Bot software doesn't accept anything else than Millimeters.
Finally its just a matter of exporting the model into a .STL format.
Step 3: Set Up the File in the Maker-Bot Software.
Ok, now that you have your model all set up in .STL format you have to bring up the maker-bot software. Due this by opening the control panel at the bottom left of your screen (If you are unsure just make the L's) and type in Maker-Bot. The software should show up.
Now this is kind of a self explanatory part. Use the software's "import file" tool to, you guessed it, import you file as many or little times you want.
Then use the four boxes to the left of the screen to organize and arrange your parts.
-Eye: This box only moves your view points of the part tray.
-Compass: This box allows you to actually slide your part around in the X&Y.
-Circle: This tool allows you spin your part around like a record baby.
-Boxes! This tool allows you to scale your part.
NOTE: Many of the functions of each tool is hidden underneath a menu. If you cannot find the function you are looking for hover over the tool and click on the arrow to the right of the tool, this brings up a menu with a bunch more options.
Ok, you got your parts all set up? Wonderful! Now we start to set up the settings of the files, fun... For a quick reference use the settings I used above, they work amazingly for anything I have printed. I suggest always keep raft on, it makes clean up way easier. The rest of the settings are kinda self explanatory, if you want to get deeper into 3D Printing you should definitely learn more. However for a quick print or for just everyday the example settings does the trick.
NOTE: Remember to set the Maker-Bot Software to your model of Maker-Bot. Different machines use different versions of the software.
Once you are done setting up your files plug in your SD Card. Then export your file to the SD Card as a X3G. Then follow me to the next page! Awwwwwwwwwaaaaaay!
Step 4: Set Up the Replicator and Run Your Part.
Whew... Jumping pages is not easy... Hope you appreciate the effort I am putting into this...
Ok! Plug in your SD card into your Maker-Bot. Then use the little keypad on the bottom right hand side to scroll to utilities, click then scroll to extruder, click and hit unload. This will heat up your Maker-Bot without wasting plastic as well as help get your plastic out of the machine if you have some in there. Now quick! Think of what color you want your part to be! Off white? Thats boring! Oh... Thats the only color you have? Well... Imagine its something a bit more fun then, ok? Grab your plastic and head back to your machine, it should be done warming up. Gently remove the plastic from the extruder, GENTLY. Scroll back to load now and load up your new plastic by gently pushing the plastic into the extruder until you see your color plastic running out.
DO NOT PUSH ON THE PLASTIC TO HARD. LET THE EXTRUDER PULL IT IN. FORCING IT IN MAY BREAK YOUR MAKER-BOT.
Now make sure you have no plastic already on your tray, if so scrape it off.
Then head back to utilities. We have to level the tray next. The Maker-Bot has a real nice automated guide for this. So I will just let you get to work.
After it's level just head back to the main menu and hit "Print from SD". Select your file's name and hit start. Now all you have to do is wait.
Step 5: Enjoy.
If you need a guide on how to enjoy something then how in Sam Hill did you end up here?!