Teach and learn

3D Printing Tips and Tricks

3D printing is amazing technology that gets kids (and adults!) interested in making cool stuff and learning more about science and technology. The great news is that anyone can use it.

How does 3D printing work?

There are different kinds of 3D printers, but the most common and affordable use a process called fused deposition, where plastic filament is fed from a spool into a small heater which then melts the plastic and extrudes it out of a fine nozzle.

The heater, the nozzle and a motor to feed the filament is located on the 3D printer head. The printer head moves around relative to a horizontal print bed to print one layer.Read more

How to 3D print

  • 1. Download the file provided in the Make & Play section <link>
  • 2. The file provided is in STL format which is the most common type of 3D file used for printing.
  • 3. Once you have this on your computer, you will need to slice the model into thin layers to create the instructions for the 3D printer – the file type is in GCODE format.
  • 4. There are several slicer programs available. A recommended free open-source software is called Cura.
    • Read more

Tips for successful printing

  • 9. Make sure the print bed is perfectly level with the extruder (print head) – this may require manual leveling on some printers.
  • 10. Make sure the print bed surface is clean and free of particles. It’s a good idea to wipe it with window cleaner using a lint free cloth every few prints.

Designing your own 3D models

TinkerCad is an awesome free browser based design tool that can be used to create 3D models that can then be downloaded and prepared for 3D printing.

Anyone from Primary school students to PhD engineers can use it to design whatever their imaginations can dream up.

Great 3D resources on the web

There are some awesome Youtube videos and 3D printing websites to learn about how to get started. Here are a few we like:

  • Ultimate Beginners Guide to 3D Printing: Youtube Video
  • Top five 3D Printer Tips After Getting Your First 3D Printer: Youtube Video
  • Five 3D printing mistakes you will make and how to avoid them: Youtube Video