MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation 3D Printer

Introduction: MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation 3D Printer

This How-To provides a detailed description on how to use the MakerBot Replicator 5th generation. It covers the following:

1. Where to download the MakerBot software: MakerBot Desktop

2. Brief introduction to Thingiverse (integrated version in MakerBot Desktop)

3. How to use MakerBot Desktop to prepare files for printing

4. How to use the MakerBot Printer


Supply Lists

MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen
PLA Plastic Filament
PC or Mac computer

Step 1: How-to Intro

Quickly prints 3-D designs

Large build volume [9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 in]

Upload designs via USB stick or direct USB cable connection

Uses PLA bioplastic

Step 2: MakerBot Desktop

Go to

Click the download button

Step 3: MakerBot Desktop

Select operating system from drop down menu and click download.

Double click the MakerBot Desktop installer to begin the installation process.

Follow installation instructions.

Step 4: MakerBot Desktop Software

Run the MakerBot application after successful installation

You can choose to create a free MakerBot Thingverse ™ account by clicking the “Sign in” button in the top right corner and selecting “Create an Account”

A Thingverse™ is not required to use the MakerBot but will allow access to several features which will be discussed later

Step 5: MakerBot Desktop - Thingiverse

MakerBot Desktop consists of four sections: Explore, Library, Prepare, and Store.

Use Explore to search Thingverse™ for ideas or to print cool things. Save them to your collections or prepare them for printing in the prepare tab.

Must have a Thingverse™ account to download designs from the explore tab.

The Library tab will keep track and organize your designs or any you downloaded from Thingverse™.

Must have a Thingverse™ to utilize the Library tab.

Step 6:

Skip to Step 8 if you are importing your own designs.

To print designs from Thingverse™ click on the “Prepare” button or click “View in Library” to see the design files in your library tab.

Thingverse™ account required to print designs from Thingverse™

Step 7:

Select Prepare for the file you wish to print

The prepare tab should automatically open and download the selected design

If you wish to add another design to the prepare tab simply navigate back to the explore tab or library and click prepare for that design file.

Step 8:

If you already have a design simply navigate to the prepare tab and click “Add File” to bring up the folder browser.

Only items saved in .obj, .stl, or .thing will be able to be imported into the MakerBot software.

A Thingverse™ account is not required to import your own designs.

If you wish to import multiple designs of your creation simply click the “Add file” tab to bring in another design.

Step 9:

Once in the prepare tab click on the device drop down menu in the top left corner and select the type of device you are going to print this on

Replicator 5th generation is the type of device being used in this “How to”

Step 10:

In the prepare tab you have the options to move, rotate, and scale your designs.

If there are multiple designs in the layout then whichever design is selected (left click on a design to select) is what will be moved, rotated, or scaled.

The MakerBot will print exactly what you see in the prepare tab so be sure your designs are not overlapping one another.

Step 11:

After the models have been placed and scaled to your specifications you can adjust the print settings by clicking the “Settings” tab in the top right corner.

You will be able to select print speed, resolution, and several other options that you will be able to optimize after gaining some experience.

The default settings should be sufficient for a typical print.

Step 12:

Once your layout and settings are finalized and you are done press the “export to print file” in the top right corner

You will get a popup that will tell you estimated print time and Filament usage

Click “Export Now” to save the final print file to a USB drive

To print, simply come to FirstBuild with your USB drive to see your designs created!

You may also choose “Save to library” if you wish to end your session and return later

Step 13:

Now that you have done all that preparation it is time to print your model(s)!

Insert your USB drive into the MakerBot Replicator (be sure that the device you selected in the prepare tab is the same device you are putting the USB drive into).

Use the dial to navigate the control panel until the “Print” tab is highlighted.

Press the dial to access the print tab.

Step 14:

Navigate to the “USB Drive” option and select it by pressing the dial

Step 15:

Browse through your USB drive using the dial and select the desired MakerBot print file by pressing the dial.

Step 16:

You should see a picture of your layout with several options under it, select print.

The MakerBot will begin preparations to create your designs, it should take a few minutes.

The control panel will have a picture of your design, % complete, estimated time until completion, and elapsed time during the printing process.

Step 17:

You can pause or cancel the print at any time by pressing the menu button on the control panel.

Do not leave the MakerBot unattended while printing.

Avoid touching the extruder as it maintains a high temperature to melt the bioplastic during the printing process.

Step 18: Upkeep

Even though the MakerBot is an excellent device it still requires some light maintenance to keep it functioning properly.

This can include installing a new spool of filament, unloading/loading filament, and leveling the base plate.

Step 19: Unloading Filament

Unloading the filament is necessary if you are going to level the base plate or replace the spool.

To begin the unloading process use the dial on the control panel to navigate to the filament tab and press the dial to select it.

Step 20: Unloading Filament Cont.

Select unload filament by pressing the dial down.

Follow the instructions that will be presented on the control panel screen.

Step 21: Loading Filament

Loading the filament is necessary when you have just finished leveling the base plate and need to reload the filament or if you have just installed a new spool of filament.

To load the filament use the dial to navigate to the filament tab and press the dial to select it.

Select “load filament” by pressing the dial down.

Follow the instructions that will be presented on the control panel screen.

Step 22: Leveling the Build Plate

Leveling the build plate before each print isn’t required but is instead up to the current operator’s discretion.

To level the build plate use the dial on the control panel to navigate to the “utilities” tab and select it by pressing the dial.

Step 23: Leveling Build Plate Cont.

Select “level build plate” and follow the instructions that will be presented on the control panel screen.

Step 24: Replacing Filament

To replace the spool of filament you must first unload the filament from the extruder.

Grasp the back section of the MakerBot and pull the filament drawer all the way out until the spool is completely exposed.

Step 25: Replacing Filament Cont.

Pull the remaining filament out of the groove that directs it.

Pull the spool off.

Install the new spool and orient it so that the filament will be unspooled counterclockwise (be sure it snaps into place).

Push the filament through the channel to direct it.

Lower the drawer until it is completely closed.

Load the filament into the extruder.

Step 26: More Information

For more information beyond this “How to” visit for details on the MakerBot Replicator 5th generation as well as all the other MakerBot models.

Makerspace Contest

Fourth Prize in the
Makerspace Contest

3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016

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