Learn to Print

Step by step instructions to help you transform your ideas into 3D printed reality

Our research showed that many people weren’t entirely sure about what you actually have to do when 3D printing, so we’ve created a diagram here to help you with the basics! For a more detailed guide scroll to the bottom.

As with any complex household tool, learning to properly use a 3D printer takes time and patience. Different brands operate in different ways, and it’s important to make sure each one is calibrated and maintained properly. Make sure to read the instructions for your printer carefully.

Let us take you through the steps involved in making a 3D printed item, from finding the file to the finished product!
Step 1: Get your file, Download it, copy it, design it, scan it
Step 2: find your printer, at a print shop or use your own
Step 3: choose your material. Choose a brand, a type of filament, and your colours.
Step 4: Print it! First load the filament into the printer; second, send the file from your computer to the printer; finally, watch the printer build your creation!
Step 5: review and repeat. Review the appearance and add or remove features. Repeat until you're satisfied with your creation.
Step 6: finish and refine. Remove rough edges with sandpaper or a little acetone
Congratulations! Now that you've successfully brought your new creation into the world, consider sharing your design in a community site.

Learn more

Here’s a detailed guide the Melbourne School of Design’s Fab Lab uses when people want to use their 3D printers (ps. they let you use their printers!)

  • 3D Printing details and guidelines

There are lots of helpful sites out there for learning how to do 3D printing in a more detailed way. Have a look at some of these:

  • 3D Printing for Beginners
  • 3Der – 3D Printing Basics
  • IC3D – 3D Printing Tips and Tricks
  • Shapeways – Modeling Guide for 3D Printing
  • iMaterialise – 5 Common Mistakes in 3D Printing
  • 3D Printing Industry – 3D Printing Basics