After you have completed your quick mechanical check, turn on the printer and open your control software (ReplicatorG, Makerware, etc.). Import your model into the virtual build area and preheat the extruder (and platform if a heated platform is used) since this usually takes a good bit of time. Depending on the software you used to create your model, it might be oriented improperly with respect to the build platform. Simply drag the model so that it is positioned within the printer's build area and have the software place it onto the platform. This will ensure that the first layer adheres correctly and that the object is level. Follow your printers directions regarding sending the job to the printer, select your desired resolution and fill density, press print and watch the magic happen.

Like any machine, 3D printers should not be left unattended while they are printing. This is especially important with large print jobs as the heat generated by the printing process can cause mechanical failure that, if left unchecked, can cause a fire. Make sure you are familiar with your machine's emergency stop procedure. Most machines feature an emergency stop button (sometimes in the software) to immediately halt the machine. If all else fails, pull the plug!

When the print job is complete, let your model cool or you might unintentionally mush it while prying it off the platform. If you model is stuck, use a plastic putty knife to carefully work around the perimeter of the object until it pops off. Clean up any excess material and you are good to go!

This guide was first published on Aug 05, 2013. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Running the machine) was last updated on Aug 28, 2012.

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