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3D Printing Resources


Many more a Google search away, but how to choose one?  Answer the following:
  • Can it save in STL or OBJ (most common formats for printers)?
  • Are there free or discounted versions for students and teachers?
  • Do education versions have some capabilities removed that you need?
  • Is there an active user community (free support) online?
  • Does my printer manufacturer provide one?
    • The software to prepare prints is NOT the same as a modeling program.
  • Try to use it before you set the students free on it. You may find that some are too buggy or have hidden costs not shown on the download page
    • Ex: has been found to be very likely to crash



  • 2015 3D Printing issue of MAKE
  • Before choosing hardware, we would always recommend searching for the latest reviews. Every year, MAKE magazine does a roundup review of 3D printers that is very helpful. The field is young, so last year’s brand may not be the best deal anymore.
  • Our 3D hardware findings so far:
    • Makerbot – 5th generation (
      • Starting setup: $3700
        • 10 rolls of filament
        • 1 year warranty
        • Extra extruder
      • Findings:
        • Very touchy, seems to often have errors
        • Support is helpful
        • Default settings have problems with simple models
          • Gaps in models
          • Warping at edges
        • Resolution is very good (fine detail)
        • Filament: $48 / 2 lbs. (close to generic rate)
    • Cube 3 (
      • Starting setup: $1500
        • 5 rolls of filament
        • 90 day warranty
        • Modeling software included with starter pack (read carefully as there are multiple packs to choose from)
      • Findings
        • Very reliable (no errors as of yet – over 20 prints)
        • Default settings are helpful
          • No gaps in models
          • Some warping at edges, but glue helps
        • Have not yet called support
        • Must buy proprietary filament
          • $49 for 0.7 lbs (about 3X generic rate)