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3D Printing

Guide to support students using 3D printers in the Innovation Lab

Importing Files into MakerBot

There are three quick ways to load your file:

  • Open the MakerBot software by double-clicking the icon on the desktop. Click on "File" and "Open Project"/"Insert File" and select your file from the location it is saved.
  • Use the in-program "Project Panel" to add models to the build plate. In this panel, you can also add build plates and prepare multiple models in separately organized projects.
  • If MakerBot software is already open and you have your .stl (from desktop or other local file location), you can click and drag the .stl file onto the MakerBot virtual build plate.

Getting Started

Once you import the file you can make adjustments by using the icons on the right toolbar. To use the toolbar you must select the object by clicking it with your mouse.

The bottom icon on the toolbar is the "Scale" tool. Use the X,Y,Z fields to alter the dimensions of your object by either percentages or units of measurement. If "Uniform Scaling" is checked, the proportions of the model will be locked in the X,Y, and Z dimension. Uncheck this option to manipulate the dimensions independently.


The second icon from the bottom on this toolbar is the "Orient" tool. Use this tool to rotate the object along any axis. With models that can be hard to align to the build plate or other orientation, using the "Place Face on Build Plates" option within this tool's window can help to ease the alignment process.


The The third icon from the bottom on the toolbar is the "Arrange" tool. This tool moves object(s) in all 3 axes using convenient buttons that increase or decrease by 10 units of measurement or by inputting specific numbers into the corresponding X,Y, Z fields.


The fourth icon from the bottom is the "Print Setting" icon. This shows the settings for the currently selected object. You can choose default print settings or click on "Custom Settings" to adjust various settings to suit your model's specific needs.



Project Panel

Though this "Project Panel" icon can be used to add models to the virtual build plate, it is also a convenient way to load multiple models and set up trays with various parts to organize large projects.


Once you have adjusted the object to your liking, click on "Print Preview" icon, the second icon from the top on right toolbar. The model will be sliced into gcode. After this calculation, your model will show in preview mode. Preview mode will show the material usage and time estimates for the build. Use the slider on the left to view the build process of your model from first layer to last. Some features allow more precise viewing of structures and building process. If you are satisfied with all the settings and the time to print, then click on "Export" in the lower right portion of the window.

Make sure the blue painter tape on the platform is in good condition. Rolls of tape may be found in the Innovation Lab if platform needs to be resurfaced. 

When the object has finished printing, give the printer time to cool down before trying to remove the object. Sometimes you may need to use a scraper to remove the object from the printer. If it proves difficult, removing the print bed from the printer to obtain better angles might be necessary to continue removal. Do not use excessive force to remove models. View Print Removal Video.

Video Tutorial

To find additional Guides for using Makerbot Print Software, click here.

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email Call or text 386-747-9028.