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Getting Started with 3D-Printing

So your .STL has been imported.

You set some custom settings for the slice, and generated a preview.

You like what you see. Now it's time to go to print!

The process is fairly straightforward: save the code. 

When you "export" the code a standard file browser will appear and ask you where to save it.

For example, with MakerBot print the filename will likely simply be "Untitled" or perhaps the name of the last file you saved with the program:


Whereas with PrusaSlicer (for example) the file name includes much more data: the name of the first .STL/object on the build plate, followed by the layer height, material, printer, and time to print woven into the filename:


You are of course free in a free society to change the filename to however you see fit.

At this stage where you save it is perhaps the most important part. Some printers use standard USB to upload files, others use SD cards. Familiarize yourself first with the printer you will be using and save the file in a way that will allow you to 'transport' it to the 3D-printer.

Save File As...

Depending on the software you use to export the file it may end with the extension ".gcode" – this is "raw" G-code¹.

Raw G-code is, by design, open-source, and can be freely edited but should only be uploaded to the machine specified during export. Only advanced users should edit the .gcode otherwise you risk breaking the printer.

Other files may end with an extension like ".makerbot" – this code is not open-source, it is proprietary, and can only be uploaded to machines capable of reading that file type.

For example:

undefined undefined

Basically be sure be sure you have selected the correct printer in your export software, and the printer you chose is where you eventually send the file - and you will be good!

Common ways to 'upload' the file are via USB or SD card. Which method to use will depend on the printer you will be using, so take note of the method the printer uses.


¹. Raw G-code looks like this.