3D Printing

3D printing is the process of creating 3-dimensional objects using an additive, such as a plastic (as opposed to a subtractive, such as a CNC machine).

Process to 3D Print a Design

  1. Create or download a 3D design, typically as an STL file.
  2. "Slice" the design with a slicer to produce a g-code file.
  3. Load the g-code file to the printer


  • Closely monitor the print as it begins and check on it periodically
  • Clean the printer bed between prints with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth
  • A light dusting of cheap hairspray can improve adhesion, especially for glass beds
  • Each filament will specify temperatures and other conditions required for successful prints
  • Clean the printer bed between uses with a small amount of alcohol and a microfiber cloth

3D Printing Terminology

  • G-code file: A file that contains the step-by-step instructions
  • Raft: A horizontal mesh printed before the first layer to improve bed adhesion or strengthen an otherwise weak base structure. Causes a rough finish on the bottom layer. Often used with ABS filament to prevent warping.
  • Slicer: Software that converts a 3D model into layer-by-layer print instructions.
  • STL file: A "stereolithography" file that defines a set of 3-dimensional design in a layer-by-layer fashion.

3D Printing Resources

Deeper Knowledge on 3D printing

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Filament

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Filament

3d printing with ABS filament

MakerBot Thingiverse

MakerBot Thingiverse

A resource for free 3D printable designs

Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

A small, reliable 3D printer appropriate for home use

3D printing Knowledge Graph