3D Printing: Print Your Model!

This is the sixth (and last) in a series of blog posts highlighting what Groundworks teaches patrons about 3D printing. This post highlights what patrons can expect when they schedule a 1-1 appointment to use Groundworks' 3D printer. Keep reading below or skip to another step using the links below:

Before using the 3D printer, patrons are required to schedule a 1-1 appointment to learn how to prepare 3D models for printing using PrusaSlicer and how to operate the 3D printer.

What to Bring to your 1-1 Appointment

Your 3D model. We encourage you to bring your own 3D model - your own creation or downloaded from an online 3D model repository - on a USB drive.  The 3D model must be saved in STL or 3MF file formats. You can also use our laptops to download any digital files saved online. If you haven't yet settled on a model to print, we will provide a practice file you can prepare for printing.

3D Printing Filament (Optional). Groundworks has an open materials policy. This means patrons can buy and use their own filament with our 3D printer. However, the quality of materials can vary from brand to brand. Please consult the Choosing the Best Filament blog post to learn more about the different types of filament available, and brands that have ready-to-print presets in PrusaSlicer. Groundworks also has some PLA filament on hand and costs $2.00 for up to one hour of printing and $1.00 for each additional hour. Please contact Groundworks with questions or recommendations.

What to Expect During Your 1-1 Appointment

Questions! Groundworks' staff may ask a few questions about your 3D model and how the final print will be used. Your answers will help us determine the best print settings, filament to use, and gives us an idea about your 3D printing knowledge. We also expect you will ask us plenty of questions! We want to teach you what you want to know and leave Groundworks knowing more about 3D printing than when you arrived.

Check for/Repair Errors. We will take you through the step-by-step process of analyzing and fixing any errors in Meshmixer. (See the Step 3 blog post for additional details.)

Slice Your Model. After we teach you how to make sure your model is free of errors, we'll import the STL or 3MF file into PrusaSlicer. Here, we'll walk you through placing your model on the build plate, choosing an infill, and show you how to make additional changes. We'll slice your model, review the print preview layer by layer and export the toolpath (.gcode) to an SD card and transfer the .gcode file to the 3D printer. You will also know the approximate time it will take the printer to complete your model. (See the Step 4 blog post for additional details.)

Print Your Model. When you are ready to print, we'll provide safety training, teach you how to load the 3D printer with filament, and start your print. We'll also discuss the 3D printer's start up sequence and answer any questions you might have along the way. ***Patrons are required to stay in Groundworks for the first 30 minutes of their print to make sure the printing process is running smoothly. REMEMBER: all 3D models must finish printing before Groundworks closes for the day unless approved by the Groundworks Coordinator.

That's it! Trust us. We will cover all this about 45 minutes.

Learn more about 3D printing in Groundworks on the 3D printer's equipment page, or the links to the other blog posts above. Groundworks is located on the Main Library's lower level across from the Lego Lab.

Last updated 8/20/2022 by dpz