How to Use the 3D Printer

This is a quick overview of the process for 3D printing a model. Consult this after you’ve been trained on the printer to remind yourself what you need.

First, you need an STL file. You can get these from Thingiverse or make it yourself in a CAD program (like Sketchup or OnShape).

Import that STL file into a program to generate the GCode. We will usually use Slicer, which is made by the same company that made the 3D printer that we currently use. Be sure that you select the appropriate settings for material and layer height. You can then “slice” the model and see the way that the layers are going to print. If you’re satisfied with that, then press “export GCode.” Name your file with the material, a description, and the estimated print time (i.e. PLA_hummingbird,_3hrs50min).

The GCode is the file that the printer will read, so export that GCode file onto an SD card and pop it into the printer. On the printer, click “print from SD” and find your file. Click on it, and the printer will print it!