Makerbot Howto / Tutorial

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Revision as of 10:14, 19 November 2010 by Hexagon5un (talk | contribs) (working on howto. very incomplete....)
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Set up the Software Side

Get your bits set up.

  • Download the latest version of replicator-G:
  • Run it at least once. It creates a secret .replicatorg directory in your home directory.
  • Download something fun to print. If this is your first time, something cool but quick like () is a good idea. You should end up with a .stl file.
  • Open up your .stl file in replicator-G. You should see a 3-D representation of it on a wireframe of the build platform. If it's too big, scale it. I always press "Move...Center" which puts the object on the build platform for you.

Fire up the Machine

Here we connect to the machine, and start it warming up.

  • Plug in the USB cable that's coming out of the Makerbot.
  • Select Machine...Driver and choose Andy's Cupcake. (You _did_ replace the machines.xml file in the step above, right?)
  • Select Machine...Serial Port and choose /dev/ttyUSB*
  • The top bar should now be green and the machine's name ("Slick") visible. If not, try clicking on the disconnect and re-connect icons. The next time you connect, replicator-G will remember these settings and it should just connect automagically.
  • The four-way arrow icon opens up the Control Panel. Do that.
  • More....

Build the G-code for your Model

G-code describes the path that the extruder head needs to follow to make your object, along with temperatures and motor speeds and other necessary details. Skeinforge is the program that turns your 3-D model into a tool path for the machine. (This is where all the bodies are buried.)


There are two main ways to print -- directly from replicatorG, and

Advanced Tricks for Your Second Print

There's a bunch of options in rendering to g-code that you may be interested in changing. You should probably preview your model before printing it out.


  • The z-axis lead screws are modified and super-beefy on Andy's bot. You'll need to modify your machines.xml file to get it to work. See Makerbot machines.xml.
  • As noted above, the temperature indicated on the nozzle is _not_ the interior temperature that's relevant for melting the plastic, but the exterior temperature right next to the heating elements. You'll need to give it 5 min or so to soak in and melt the plastic.
  • The plastic feed reel (or lack thereof) binds. You will have to manually un-spool plastic by rotating the whole bundle from time to time. Just make sure it's not twisted or under tension -- either of those circumstances will cause your build to stop printing.