Using the 3SPACE Printers

Printing with the Ultimakers

To prepare 3D models for the Ultimaker printers in JMU 3SPACE, you first need to download an STL file of the model. That file then needs to be “sliced” in the software for the printers; this tells the 3D printer what to do at each layer or slice of the print. The slicer for the Ultimakers is called Cura, and it can be found in the Dock at the bottom of the screen on each Mac. Choose the blue/left Cura icon.

Step 1:  Reset
Because someone else may have used this software before you, Cura might open with settings that are wrong for your print. To get back to default settings, click “Custom” and then change “Profile” to another setting (Fast, Draft, Normal, Fine). This will trigger a window that asks you if you want to keep or discard any custom settings; click “Discard”.

Step 2:  Choose printer
Set the top right dropdown menu to match the 3D printer that you will be using (2+, 3, and/or Extended).

Step 3:  Choose layer height and other settings
Set Profile to the fastest/largest setting, if you haven’t done so already from your reset in Step 1. The fastest setting is still quite detailed and most prints do not need finer settings unless they are very small. Click the “Recommended” button to get the simpler settings interface, and decide what you want to use for Infill, Support, and Build Plate Adhesion settings. For most prints you will not need to worry about any of the more complicated Custom settings.

Step 4:  Check the time
In the bottom right of the screen, Cura will estimate the time your print will take to complete. Please check the JMU 3SPACE Calendar to make sure that your print will be done before the next event or class, or else your print might be canceled.

Step 5:  Send to printer and print
Put the USB drive or SD card from the front of the printer you are using into the back of the Mac and press “Save to Removable Drive”. Then eject the drive, put it back into the printer, and use the jog wheel to select and start your print.

Step 6:  Stick around for a few layers
Don’t leave the printer unattended until about a quarter of an inch of it has printed successfully. Many prints fail in those first few layers, and waiting around for a few minutes can help avoid messy print disasters.

Step 7:  Don’t mess with anything else
Please do not try to fix the printers, replace or change filament, swap out nozzles, level build platforms, or do anything else to the machines. If a printer has a problem please just leave a note by the printer to let us know.

Step 8:  Move completed prints to the back of the room
Prints are usually easy to remove once the build platform has cooled down. If the print seems stuck then wait until things are cool before you try to remove it, or you might damage the print. If you remove someone else’s print from a printer, then please put the print on the back shelf, even if it failed. If you’re looking for your print, try poking around the back shelf 🙂

Printing with the LulzBots

The process for printing with the LulzBots is exactly the same, except that you should use the green/right Cura icon as the slicer. Note that the SD card at the front of the LulzBot might insert backwards from what you expect. For most prints the LulzBots are faster, and the accuracy is comparable to the faster settings of the Ultimakers.