3D Printing Guidelines

Please follow these steps to ensure that your 3D print is successful.

Creating Your Model

All 3D models must fit these requirements to to be 3D printed.

  • Be sure to have all surface normals facing outward. This ensures that the printer recognizes your models surface. Without a recognizable surface, the printer cannot “see” your model.
  • Triple check model quality to determine if there are any holes in your mesh. MakerBot technology requires watertight models, which means if you were to dunk your model in water, it would not fill the inside.
  • Outstretched appendages from the core of your model might snap off during or after printing, if the point of contact or joint is too thin.
  • Smooth previews from modeling software are valuable when previewing smooth meshes. However, when designing a model for print, know that smooth previews do not export with your file. You must smooth the mesh by hand before you export.
  • OBJ and STL files are the most consistent when working with MakerBot printers. Not only are they easy to use and work well with the MakerBot software, but they are also the types of files that consultants can check when determining whether or not a print will be successful, or identifying why a model will not print.
  • Along with real world physics comes scale. If you’re modeling in preparation for print, it is imperative to model to scale. Modeling to scale allows you to maintain proportions, and we can scale down models that are too large for our print builds.
  • If your model is expected to exceed the build volumes of our printers, then consider breaking the model into separate sections that can be combined.

Printing an Existing Model

Whenever you find something you’d like to print, always check for instructions on how to print the model. People will often provide recommended settings and other details about the print in the instructions.

If you’re worried that a print may not be successful, or if the instructions recommend checking the print object, then be sure to review the “Guidelines for Your Model” above or express your concerns to our consultants. Consultants will be able to verify whether an object will print successfully or not.

Print Settings

Layer Height determines the overall resolution of your print. Lower layer height creates higher quality prints but takes an extensive amount of time to print.

Infill refers to the material printed inside of the model. Prints with lower infill are structurally weaker but are cost and time efficient. Higher infill percents are structurally stronger but use more grams of filament and take longer to print.

Shells increase the durability and strength of your print. Printing with more shells will increase the material used for the print and increase time

Don’t forget to pick your color! The SoIC 3D Print Lab currently provides the following filament colors: white.