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3D Printing: Prepare

Whether you plan to send your file to the library for print or to print it yourself, the first step is to save your file in .stl format (lithography). If given the option of binary or ascii – choose binary. This is a format which can be read by the programs that are used to prepare files for print.

Sending your File to the Library

Please note: The file will be printed “as is” without modification except where supports are needed during the printing process. If supports are needed during printing then they will still be in place when you collect your printed model. The maximum volume for the object is 200mm x 200mm x 200mm. The item will be printed in PLA material unless resin is required for a specific purpose.

  1. Save you file to your OneDrive as an .stl file in binary.
  2. Copy the link to your file.
  3. Log on to https://servicedesk.nuigalway.ie with your campus account
  4. Choose Request Type: 08. Printing and then 3D Print Request
  5. Paste the link to your .stl file into the Request Detail file. Notes can also be added to that field but remember we won’t make any design changes to your item.
  6. You will receive an email from the ticketing system when your print is ready. You can collect your print from behind the Library &  IT desk.

Printing the File Yourself

If you are a volunteer with the MakerSpace, you are permitted to use the Ultimaker 3D printers yourself. You'll need to import your .stl file into a slicing program and make some adjustments to determine how your object will print. The following steps illustrate the basic process.

  1. Download Ultimaker Cura or open it on your PC if it is already installed. 
  2. Click File > Open Files and open your .stl design. You can open multiple files or multiple copies of the same file to print at the same time.
  3. Select the correct printer and configuration on the top of the screen. (Tip: ensure the nozzle configuration matches the nozzle which is currently installed on the printer.)
  4. Adjust the print settings to determine the speed and precision of the print (Tip: Read Cura's guide on becoming a slicing master).
  5. Use the icons on the left side of the screen to determine the item's position on the build plate. You can also change the scale.
  6. Click Slice.
  7. Save the .gcode file to an SD card.