Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

MakerBot Replicator 2X Video Tutorials

Posted by on Thursday, February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

As you may have heard, Monday marked the first day of shipments for the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. Whether you’ve just received your machine or are patiently awaiting it’s arrival, these videos will help prepare you for the journey you are about to embark on. In addition to the videos, the documentation pages in the Support section of our website and the downloadable User Manual are available now to help make sure you set out on the right foot.

Unboxing: The MakerBot Replicator 2X takes just a few minutes to set up. This video will show you how to carefully unpack and setup your new machine.

Startup Process: Before you start making things you’ll need to level the build platform and load the MakerBot ABS filament into your MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. Your MakerBot Replicator 2X will walk you through this process step-by-step by displaying directions on it’s LCD panel. Watch this video and follow along with the directions so that your MakerBot Replicator 2X can make its very first thing!

MakerWare Dual Extrusion: MakerBot MakerWare 2.0 was just released yesterday. One of the most exciting things about this update to our software is that it now supports dual extrusion. If you need an intro to preparing a model for dual extrusion on your MakerBot Replicator 2X, this is the video to watch. If you’re new to MakerBot MakerWare and need a basic tutorial then be sure to start here.

Maintenance Routine: Your MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer requires some simple upkeep. Replacing your kapton tape and greasing the z-axis rod and the x-axis idler pulley will help keep your new machine purring.

If you’ve got a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer you can find your getting started videos here.

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OpenSCAD Design Tips: How to Make a Customizable Thing

Posted by on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
You can customize this awesome cube right now!

You can customize this awesome cube right now!

Chances are you’ve been following along with the newest developments over on Thingiverse and have seen people uploading “Customizable” versions of their OpenSCAD designs.  ((For the latest information on how to make a customizable thing using the Customizer you’re going to want to check out the documentation for this Thingiverse app.  Since you have to authorize the App to be able to use it, there’s no way at the moment for me to provide a direct link to the documentation.))

If you’d like to give the Thingiverse Customizer a shot but aren’t sure where to begin, this tutorial is for you.  Before you get bogged down in the details, just know that I’ve created a “Customizer template” you can use as a starting point for creating your own customizable Thing.  I would suggest first playing with the settings in this template to see how Customizer changes the object.  Then, when you’ve gotten the hang of it, read through this tutorial on how to make a Customizable OpenSCAD file.  Finally, download and check out the template itself in your favorite text editor or OpenSCAD.  Add your own designs and see how you can make your own customizable Things!

  • Design!
    • Create your OpenSCAD thing just as you normally would.
  • Create Options
    • In order to give Thingiverse users the option to customize your designs through the Customizer App, you’ll need to create options for them.  There are three kinds of user-definable options you can include in  your OpenSCAD file: text boxes, drop down boxes, and numerical sliders.  I’ll discuss each in turn.
      1. Text Box
        1. Simple Text Box.  To add a text box, all you need to do is create a variable.  Like so:
          1. text_box = 10;
        2. Text Boxes with Explanation.  Options are very nice and well, but without an explanation they may be hard for a user to interpret.  Here’s how you would create a similar text box with an explanation:
          1. // This is the explanation text
          2. another_text_box = 10;
      2. Drop Down Box
        1. Drop Down Box of Numbers.  A drop down box can be included by simply including a “//” to comment out the space after a variable and list options like so:
          1. // This creates a drop down box of numbered options
          2. number_drop_down_box = 1; // [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10]
        2. Drop Down Box of Text.  A drop down box can also include text as possible choices, like this:
          1. // This creates a drop down box of text options
          2. text_drop_down_box = “yes”; // [yes,no,maybe]
        3. Labeled Drop Down Box.  Sometimes it is useful to show the user text labels, but have a numerical value for each text label.  You can do so in this manner:
          1. // This creates a drop down box of text options with numerical values
          2. labeled_drop_down_box = 5; // [1:small, 5:medium, 10:large, 50:supersized]
      3. Numerical Slider
        1.  Once you’ve mastered the text box and the drop down box, the text slider is almost trivial.
          1. // This creates a slider with a minimum and maximum
          2. numerical_slider = 1; // [0:10]
      4. Notes
        1. Not every single variable you reference inside the Customizer start/end section will be included as an option.  If any of your variables use any mathematical operators or other variables in its value, it will not appear as an option.  This can be useful for including “hidden” options within the customizable section – by just multiplying a given variable by 1.1  For example, the following will not appear as an option:
          1. // This option will not appear
          2. hidden_option = 100*1;
        2. Neither will this:
          1. // This option will also not appear
          2. // another_hidden_option = 101;
  • Optional Libraries
  • Upload to Thingiverse
    • Once you’ve finished your OpenSCAD file, you just need to share it on Thingiverse.
    • Once it has been uploaded, just tag your Thing with the word “customizer”, publish your Thing, and you’re done!
  • Limitations
    • Right now there are a few limitations for Customizer.  They are:
      • Your Thingiverse entry can only include on OpenSCAD file.
      • Your OpenSCAD file can’t import any external OpenSCAD code, STL’s, or DXF files.
      • Your OpenSCAD code can only be compiled to a single STL file.

The MakerBot team is continually improving the Customizer, so check back with the documentation frequently so you can find out about the newest features!

  1. Such as:  “this_will_not_appear = 30* 1;” []
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OpenSCAD Design Tips

Posted by on Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
Voltron, victorious

Voltron, victorious

As you may know, I’ve mentioned wanting to print a Voltron several times before.  I even tried to design one once.  Even after uploading a shoddy version, I kept on jabbering on about it.

Finally I’ve designed a printable Voltron of which I can be proud. It’s designed totally in OpenSCAD using just about every single OpenSCAD trick I know.  Additionally, I designed a hinge connector system that, I think, compliments Tony Buser’s Pin Connectors v2 system nicely. In fact, some of the connector pieces for this model are basically a Buser pin connector on one side and a hinge/joint connector on the other. The result is a snap-fit highly articulated/poseable model.

I wanted to share some of these design tricks with you over the next few posts.  Here’s a quick preview:

  • How to sketch an object with OpenSCAD
  • How to easily make regular solids – other than cubes and cylinders, like hexagons, pentagons, octagons, etc
  • How to easily make symmetrical solids
  • How to easily make irregular, but symmetrical solids

Stay tuned for these ideas!

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MakerBot Teacher Highlight: Jean Adams’ Honors Geometry class at Castilleja School

Posted by on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
Jean Adams' Honors Geometry class at Castilleja School in Palo Alto

Jean Adams' Honors Geometry class at Castilleja School in Palo Alto

A few months ago Jean Adams, a teacher from Castilleja School in Palo Alto, wrote to me about the OpenSCAD tutorials on our blog so she could use them in her classroom. 1  Obviously, this got me interested, so I asked her to share more about her class:

I teach Honors Geometry at Castilleja, an independent girls’ school for grades 6-12 in the heart of Silicon Valley.  This year our school opened an “Idea Lab” in connection with Stanford’s Fab Lab and trained a group of teachers on several digital fabrication machines.  Among those machines was a cute, wooden MakerBot Thing-o-Matic.  I was immediately drawn to the homebrew feel of the community around MakerBot and frankly the machine reminded me of the Apple I.  A parent volunteer, Diego Fonstad, showed me the openSCAD program and I saw how wonderfully this software could help teach several concepts in my Geometry class.  I began to play with OpenSCAD by following MakerBlock’s tutorials on the MakerBot blog.  Eventually I adapted his tutorials for my classroom and my student’s learned OpenSCAD during two 50-minute class sessions.  They were then given time  outside of class to work on a final project which was printed on our school’s Thing-o-Matic.

The list of concepts that this project helped teach or reinforce is actually quite extensive.  During the year long course my students learn about union and intersection of geometrical objects, vectors, rigid transformations such as translation, rotation, dilation (scale in OpenSCAD), and the z-axis.  All of these ideas came together in the design of their OpenSCAD object.  Futhermore I teach a small amount of programming in the python language and their skills in that language transferred over directly into OpenSCAD.

Beyond any specific content learned through this project, I intended my students to practice using spatial reasoning.  A 2010 research report by AAUW entiled “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” presents research that shows women can dramatically improve spatial reasoning skills in a short amount of time in order to close the gap with men.  “If girls grow up in an environment with opportunities  to develop their spatial skills, they are more likely to consider a future in a science or engineering field.”  I found that students struggled with thinking and rotating in 3 dimensions, but by the end of the project had developed a robust ability to rotate their OpenSCAD objects in their mind.

A nice (and accidental) side effect was the chance for students to express themselves creatively in math class.  Diego Fonstad wrote, “The detail and breadth of their output exceeded what was required of them to complete the project. This underscores their latent creativity and desire to build and also demonstrates how this exercise tapped their intrinsic motivation and truly engaged the students.”

Jean’s class have shared their designs on Thingiverse, including the cutest and pinkest R2D2 I’ve ever seen.

Error - could not find Thing 22332.
Error - could not find Thing 22331.
Error - could not find Thing 22330.
Error - could not find Thing 22329.
Error - could not find Thing 22328.
Error - could not find Thing 22323.
Error - could not find Thing 22317.
  1. Seriously – what kind of class is teaching OpenSCAD?!  Are there any open seats left?! []
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OpenSCAD Intermediates: How to Make Organic Shapes

Posted by on Monday, April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

In this OpenSCAD tutorial series we’ve covered the basics of the OpenSCAD interface, how to make 2D forms, how to make some basic 3D forms, how to position those forms in 3D space, the different ways to combine forms, how to create mashups of one or more existing STL’s and OpenSCAD forms, how to use modules to reuse your code to make your life easier, how to extrude flat 2D forms into 3D forms, and how to fix design problems.  Although I described a few of the last tutorials as “intermediate” levels, that’s really only because you learned the basics so quickly from the first few tutorials.

Today I’d like to show you how easy it is to make some neat organic looking forms with OpenSCAD.  The secret behind doing so are two functions, “hull” and “minkowski.”  Let’s learn a little bit about what each of these functions do and try out some code.  More, after the break!

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Great Instructional Video For MakerBotters!

Our video department here at MakerBot does a bunch of videos and tutorial work. But you better believe we are all about other helpful tips and tricks from users around the world.

The good people at PixilTV have offered up another useful video, and this time, “it’s all about the MakerBot.” This is great stuff! Watch the vid for some helpful hints on printing, but do have a look at their other stuff, too, below the fold.



This is some helpful stuff, and we’re thrilled to see it! If you’re looking for some more in depth assistance, remember to visit our Support Page and subscribe to our videos.

Our videos tend to be about MakerBots, but PixilTV puts out instructionals on a wide range of topics, such as making dubstep on your iPhone and pollinating carnivorous plants. And on that note, some of the guys behind PixilTV are also creating some fantastic MakerBotted planters, on display at Plantiis. Here are a couple from the video host, @ecken, who is now on Thingiverse. These are exceptional! We’ll be sure to check in with them again next week, leading up to Earth Day.

Nepenthes Planter by ecken

Evil Face Planter by ecken











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The MakerBot Replicator™ Tutorials

Posted by on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

A number of you have just received your MakerBot Replicators™! You must be incredibly excited!

Set-up for the MakerBot Replicators™ is unbelievably simple (much simpler than it was for those Thing-O-Matic kits!) and we’ve worked really hard to get you thorough documentation and instructions so that it’ll be smooth sailing from the time you receive your package to the time you’re printing your first few things from Thingiverse.

These three videos will walk you through the essential steps in only 12 minutes! We recommend watching each video in its entirety and then watching it again as you set up your Replicator, pausing when necessary. For more written documentation check out Ethan and Melody’s incredibly thorough Replicator User Guide.

And if you’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of your Replicator feel free to get a head start by watching these videos now!

#1. Unboxing
In this video Mike will take you through the initial set-up of your machine. He’ll go over essential information about attaching your Stepstrudder MK8 and properly mounting your filament.

#2. First Run Experience
In this video Ethan will assist you as you follow the instructions in the start-up script. You’ll learn how to level the platform, load filament and you’ll get to try a test print!

#3. Thingiverse to Thing
In this video Sam will get you comfortable with the printing process. He’ll show you how to pick a model from Thingiverse, run it through ReplicatorG and to get your MakerBot to make it! After you master this tutorial you’ll be able to print your world!

*BONUS* In addition to the three set-up videos we’ve also put together a Maintenance Tutorial.

In this video I will take you through applying new kapton tape, cleaning out the drive gear and lubricating the milled rods on your Replicator. Enjoy!

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OpenSCAD: What would you like to learn next?

Posted by on Monday, January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Parametric Boltless Hook for keyhole shelving units by Timmytool

Parametric Boltless Hook for keyhole shelving units by Timmytool

As I’m gearing up for Thing-A-Day this year, I thought others might be interested in more OpenSCAD tutorials1  Is there something you would like me to cover in another tutorial?  What would you like to learn?

While I’ve more or less written these tutorials right up to my level of competency, there are a few additional things that we could cover – some of the additional variables for previously covered functions, hull, Minkowski, and for loops.

OpenSCAD Tutorial Series

  1. OpenSCAD Basics: The Setup
  2. OpenSCAD Basics: 2D Forms
  3. OpenSCAD Basics: 3D Forms
  4. OpenSCAD Basics: Manipulating Forms
  5. OpenSCAD Intermediates: Combining Forms
  6. OpenSCAD Intermediates: Mashups
  7. OpenSCAD Intermediates: Modularity
  8. OpenSCAD Intermediates: Extruding 2D Objects
  9. OpenSCAD Intermediates: Fixing Design Problems
Error - could not find Thing 15515.
  1. As always, if you go through these tutorials and publish something on Thingiverse, I’d love to feature your designs in my OpenSCAD tutorial posts! []
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MUGNY Launches OpenSCAD Study Group

Posted by on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

MUGNY OpenSCAD Study Group

This Thursday evening at the MakerBot Workshop, the New York MakerBot User Group (MUGNY) will launch a monthly Study Group focusing on the parametric CAD application OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD is cross-platform and open-source, a phenomenally powerful tool that has been getting quite a bit of attention on Thingiverse and beyond. And if it is a wee bit under-documented, counter-intuitive, and eccentric, well….that is where a Study Group comes in!

Those of us pulling this study group together (Liz Arum, Jon Santiago, and Matt Griffin) believe strongly that a wider audience of MakerBot Operators (and Thingiverse Modelers) will embrace this tool and push it even further if many of us roll up our sleeves and do the footwork to compile and generate curriculum, tutorials, libraries, and example files that demonstrate practically how to use this application.

We will be kicking off by revisiting MakerBlock and Allan Ecker’s excellent tutorial series on the Thingiverse and MakerBot blogs, investigating in-development tools such as Marty McGuire’s OpenSCAD Polygon Output for Inkscape, experimenting and reporting on the many many OpenSCAD libraries you can grab from Thingiverse and beyond, and generally digging in deep to see what we can find.

If you are MakerBot Operator in the greater New York area and want to attend, please RSVP via Eventbrite for event location details.

Before you arrive to the first session, please take a look at MakerBlock’s OpenSCAD Basics tutorial series — and make sure to get OpenSCAD installed and ready to go before you arrive:

  1. OpenSCAD Basics: The Setup
  2. OpenSCAD Basics: 2D Forms
  3. OpenSCAD Basics: 3D forms
  4. OpenSCAD Basics:  Manipulating Forms


Start Yer Own Study Group

Members of MUGNY decided to jump into OpenSCAD for our Study Group, but there are quite a few topics and areas of research out there in the Thingiverse for other MakerBot User Groups to tackle.

If you’d like to start your own Study Group, please do so! Declare a meeting and get started with your investigations. But once you are underway, let us know what topic your group has picked and when you and your fellow MakerBot Operators and Thingiverse Modelers will be meeting for the second and later meetings so that we can share details here on the MakerBot blog to reach everyone in your area who might be available to chip in!

Some popular topics that MUGNY considered before selecting OpenSCAD:

  • “Finishing Techniques” — Your MakerBot wrapped up printing a part– now what else can you do with it? What paints, sandpapers, adhesives and solvents work best?
  • “Blender for Solid Modelers” — Blender has a reputation for being intimidating that might be shifting away with the release of 2.5 and 2.6. But still, with so many tools and modifiers and techniques — which are the best practices for using Blender for MakerBotting?
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How to Make a Printing Plate

Posted by on Monday, September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Printing plates for Mr. Maker by ErikJDurwoodII

Printing plates for Mr. Maker by ErikJDurwoodII

Yesterday I spent some time organizing the parts in the MakerBot mascot entry “Mr. Maker” by ErikJDurwoodII into printing plates.  Afterward, Erik asked how I did this.  While I had posted some tips on creating printing plates earlier, I didn’t really give a decent step-by-step guide.  I like using OpenSCAD to orient the parts, but I’m sure there are other ways.  Here’s my process:

  1. Orient.  Make sure all STL parts are centered and flat on the build surface.
    1. The easiest way to ensure this is to open the STL in ReplicatorG, click “Move” in the bottom right corner, then “Center” in the right panel.  Matt demonstrates how to do this in MakerBot TV episode one @ 2:56.
  2. Sort.  Sort all STL’s by the number of times each part needs to be printed.  I like to put them into folders labeled “1”, “2”, “3”, etc.
  3. Make a Plate.  I use a simple OpenSCAD command to create a transparent representation of the build area.  I like to use an 80×80 mm square so that I can be sure everything is going to fit.  Here’s the command I used:
    1. % cube([80,80,0.01],true);
  4. Practice Moving/Spinning.  Using just the OpenSCAD translate and rotate commands, you’ll be able to move, spin, and place any part.
  5. Plan for Multiples.  Looking at all of the parts that need to printed multiple times, see if you can place them together so that printing a single plate more than once will give you the proper number of parts.
  6. Biggest Parts.  The largest parts that can’t be included with other large parts will essentially determine the number of printing plates you need.  Place each large part onto it’s own plate.
  7. Medium Parts.  Once you have a general idea of the number of plates you need, as determined by the biggest pieces that can’t be combined with other parts, try to fit the medium pieces in and around other parts.  If you can’t fit them around the large pieces, you’ll need to create a plate of medium parts.
  8. Small Parts.  The smallest parts can be sprinkled in and around all the large and medium parts.
  9. Pro Tips:
    1. If you have a part that needs to be printed an odd number of times, consider putting a single occurrence of this same part into a plate that needs to be printed only once.
    2. Sometimes it helps to have extra parts, so printing an even number of a piece that you need an odd number of isn’t actually very wasteful.
    3. Consider mirror-flipping a part if it won’t fit.  Some parts won’t fit onto a plate unless they’re flipped, but are just as functional either way.
    4. Consider printing small parts multiple times if you can fit an extra instance onto a plate.  Small parts can rip off the build platform, get deformed, break, or get lost.  Printing an extra small part along with larger parts doesn’t add that much time or plastic and will probably save you a lot more time down the road.
    5. Save yourself some heartache and make sure you use a Stepper based extruder that will allow you print without a mess of strings between all the parts.
    6. Always include the individual STL’s for parts even if you’re uploading printing plates.  Sometimes people just need to print or reprint one little piece and it can be a real pain to carve one out of a printing plate.
  10. Rock Star Tips:
    1. Some parts such as complex gears or external pieces can better benefit from high resolution, slower printing, or different infill ratios than other simple or internal pieces.  Consider organizing the parts so that certain pieces that need similar resolution/speed/infill ratios are printed together.  Thanks to Bobbens for including this tip in his Mini servo gripper plate.
    2. How about creating the entire GCode setup for printing everything using an Automated Build Platform?
    3. If you’ve got a MK7 Dual Extruder setup with soluble support material, you could stack parts on top of one another.  This means you could turn a multipart print into one single long print task, print everything as one big chunk of plastic, drop the result in water, let the PVA dissolve, and pull out all of your parts.

Do you use production or printing plates?  What program do you use to make them?  What additional tips do you have?

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