Printing to the Makerbots in the Innovation Lab

About: So...we have this new lab, and need an easy way/place to create and store instructions. This is an experiment.

Welcome to 3D printing at the Innovation Lab at Harford County Public Library's Abingdon Branch! The following is a simple procedure for printing on the Makerbot 5th Generation and Makerbot Mini 3D printers.

Step 1: Find Your Model -

This will be a file from an internet resource, such as the Thingiverse, or a file that someone else has created. This file needs to be in the ".STL" or "OBJ" format.

Step 2: Add the File to the Makerbot Software.

Run the Makerbot software. Click "ADD FILE." If you are using the Makerbot 5th Generation printer in the Lab's current setup, you will need to use a USB drive. With the Mini, you will load the file from the attached computer. Select the file from the appropriate source, and wait for it to upload into the Makerbot software.

Step 3: Select the Printer.

Find and select the appropriate printer in the "devices" pull down menu. Your choices will be either the Makerbot 5th Generation, or the Makerbot Mini.

Step 4: Edit the Model.

Use move, rotate, scale, etc. to modify the model to suit the your needs. Click on the model to select it (which highlights it in yellow), then use the controls on the left to move, turn, or scale the model.

Step 5: Makerbot 5th Generation: Export!

Once you are satisfied with the choices you have made for the print, use "PREVIEW" to learn how long the print should take. Please keep your prints as close to 1.5 hours as possible, as the Makerbot program's estimates are often inaccurate, and may cause you to cut into the next user's time.

Export the file to a USB when using the 5th Generation Makerbot. If the model needs to be changed - to lessen the print time, or to add or remove rafts - you will need to return to previous steps to make changes. Otherwise, proceed by allowing the export to take place. The exported file will need to be saved to a USB drive.

STOP. Check with an Innovation Lab staff member or volunteer to get the okay to start your print.

Step 6: Makerbot 5th Gen: Take the File to the Printer

Make sure the build plate is clear. Insert the USB into the 5th Gen's USB slot. Use the wheel to navigate through the USB's directory and find your file. A picture of the model will appear on the viewing screen. Tap the wheel to select the file, and again to initiate the print.

Step 7: Makerbot Mini: Print!

With the Mini, once you are satisfied with the adjustments to your model, STOP. Check with a staff member to get the go-ahead to initiate the print.

Step 8: Mini: Send the Print Command

Make sure that the build plate is empty, the click PRINT. The printer will take care of itself from this point on, but does need to be watched for rafts and print errors.

Step 9:


After the 15 minutes, you may leave the lab and return later to retrieve your print. Label the printer with your name on a Post-It note. We will save your item for you.

Please be aware that 3D prints sometimes fail. If this happens, and there is no more time for you to print, you are welcome to try again on another day.



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    Great information, especially as 3d printing is become more and more main stream! Welcome to instructables! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!