Assignment 3a – 3D Printer

3D Printer Documentation

class from 17/12/2015.

This class is dedicated to the 3D printer.

  1. Create a Design in 123D Design

As an initial exercise we each design a very simple shape in the form of a cube with a hole in the centre in 123D Design. To do this, we first create the basic shape by inserting a cube from the « primitives » bar. For the hole we draw a circle on top of it by selecting « Primitives » and  then « circle ». The radius of the circle can be specified in the bottom of the ui, after having selected the circle.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 19.04.57

With the « Press Pull » tool in the « modify » menu we then pull the circle down to create the hole. We select the part that is covering the hole and then delete it. To make our design smaller we apply the same press pull technique to the complete object. The design is exported as an slt file.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 14.01.57

2. Check if the object is orientable and closed in netfabb Free

Before the object can be printed we need to make sure it is closed and orientable. This is possible with the program netfabb in which the previously exported slt file is opened. To run the analysis we press « Standard Analysis » in the top bar. On the right information about our shape is presented.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 14.12.07

Relevant for us are the « Orientable » and « Closed » settings. With my shape everything is fine, so I can go on to printing.

3. Prepare Print in Cura.

Cura is a software from ultimaker, the Fab Lab’s 3D printer brand that allows us to prepare our 3D objects for printing.

First we set the printer to « ultimaker 2 » in the machine menu. Then we open our previously created slt file via « File » « Load model file« . It is then placed in the center of the « stage » on the right side. Then we open the « Expert » settings by pressing « Expert » and then « Switch to full settings« .

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 14.19.08

The settings we have to input are as follows:


Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.45.31

Now it is ready to be printed, so we save it as a .gcode on a sd card.

4. Print on the ultimaker 2

On the ultimaker 2 we insert the sd card into the printer. We turn the wheel to print and then select the file. This can be confusing since it is not quite apparent how the files are ordered (it seems somewhat random).

The next step is to add material. First, the old material can be removed. We then pick a black spool of plastic from the bottom of the shelf in the fab lab and connect one end to the tube from which the material will be taken.


The ultimaker 2.


Adding the plastic spool to the back of the machine.


Selecting options by turning the wheel.

Then we navigate to « material » and then press « change ». The platform and the plastic will be heated to 220 degrees. We then go to Filament and press ready. The filament is pushed in until the machine starts spooling it up. Pressing ready again has the consequence that it moves faster. As the material is cold a « tak tak » sound can be heard. After a while the machine stops and we have to adjust the spool manually. Then we press yes and then ok (print and file).

This continues until the produced plastic has the right thickness. The lines that are produced now are smooth which is good sign. The machine first prints the outlines that are then filled in.

The printing is a lengthy process, so we can do something else in the meantime and once in a while check on the progress.


The printing process after about 1 hour.




Common Problems:

  • The dist., the nozzle and the platform are not well adjusted
  • The Plastic is not good (because of variance in temperature)
    • use different plastic
  • Clogging in the tube.
    • Solution: Clean printer by putting a thin line into the tube at 180 degrees and then have the temperature cool down to 90 degrees.


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