MakerBot MakerWare 3D Print Software

MakerBot MakerWare

MakerBot MakerWare is a program that allows you to easily prepare 3D models for building. The troubleshooting guides and documentation in these pages will orient you and get you back on track if something should go wrong.


    Advanced Settings

    At the bottom of the Make dialog in MakerWare is an expandable section called Advanced Options. Here you can make small tweaks to the default settings -- like bumping up the platform temperature or reducing the number of shells -- or create all-new slicing profiles.

    Editing Basic Print Settings

    • Advanced options 1.1
    • The Temperature tab 1.2
    • The Speed tab 1.3

    The basic Advanced interface allows you to make alterations to the three default profiles. Start by choosing High, Standard or Low from the Profile drop-down menu. The selected profile's default settings will appear in the print options area below.

    The print options area consists of three tabs where you can change settings for build quality, extrusion and heated build plate temperature, and build speed.

    The first tab is Quality, and it contains settings for Infill, Number of Shells and Layer Height. Infill is the internal structure of your object, which can be as sparse or as substantial as you would like it to be. A higher percentage will result in a more solid object, so 100% infill will make your object completely solid, while 0% infill will give you something completely hollow. 1.1

    Shells are the outlines printed on each layer of your object. More shells result in a stronger object.

    Layer Height sets the thickness of each layer. The smaller the layer height, the finer the vertical resolution of your object. Smaller layers do look better, but they will also make your build take much longer: for every layer you would print at .3 mm, you have to print three layers at .1 mm to make up the same section of your object.

    The settings under the Temperature tab let you set temperatures for your extruder or extruders. If you have a heated build plate, you will also see a Heat the Build Plate checkbox that you can use to turn the heated build plate on or off and an additional field for setting the build plate temperature. You might want to lower the extruder temperature by ten degrees if you're printing very slowly, or raise the heated build plate temperature by five degrees to improve adhesion. 1.2

    The speed tab covers two settings. Speed while Extruding is both the speed at which your extruder moves while it's extruding plastic and the speed at which plastic is coming out of the extruder. This speed needs to be slow enough for the layer being extruded to bond with the layer underneath it. The extruder can move faster when it's not extruding plastic, so we have a separate setting for that: Speed while Traveling. 1.3

    You can always return to the original settings for the profile you're working with by clicking the Use Defaults button at the lower left.

    Print Preview

    • Toolpath Visualization window 2.1

    To see a preview of what your sliced file looks like before printing, select the Print Preview checkbox at the bottom of the expanded Make dialog. When you click Make it! or Export!, MakerWare will slice the file and open the Toolpath Visualization window.

    The main feature of the Toolpath Visualization window is a visual representation of your printed object. In this window, you can:

    • Zoom in using a scroll wheel or touch pad to see individual lines of extrusion.
    • Use the slider at the left side of the window to conceal upper layers and reveal the inner structure of your object.
    • Select the Show Travel Moves checkbox to add moves without extrusion to your preview. These travel moves will appear as thin black lines.
    • Click View from top at the upper left to view the object directly from above.

    The Toolpath Visualization window also displays estimated material usage and printing time at the the upper right.

    If the preview looks good, click the Make it! or Export! button to print or save your file. If you're not satisfied with the preview, click Cancel to return to the Make dialog.

    Creating Profiles

    • Create Profile window 3.1
    • Template drop-down menu 3.2
    • Using your custom profile 3.3
    • MakerBot Slicer config file 3.4

    When you change your print options in MakerWare, you're really editing the settings our slicing engine uses. A slicing engine is a piece of software that turns your 3D model into a toolpath -- a set of instructions for your MakerBot. MakerWare uses a slicing engine called the MakerBot Slicer. It's developed here at MakerBot, and it's fast, efficient, and frequently updated with new features.

    The Makerbot Slicer has many more settings than you see even in the Advanced Options section of the Make dialog. You'll never really need to change these additional settings, but they're all available for tweaking and fine-tuning -- just create a custom profile.

    To create a custom profile, click Create Profile… at the lower right corner of the expanded Make dialog. The Create Profile window will appear. 3.1

    Choose a base profile from the Template drop-down. You can choose a High, Standard or Low quality MakerBot Slicer template optimized for PLA, ABS, MakerBot Dissolvable Filament, or MakerBot Flexible Filament. 3.2 Previously created custom profiles will also be available to use as templates.

    Enter a name for your new profile -- try to choose something descriptive, but avoid using slashes. Then click the Create button to save your new profile.

    Once the profile is saved, you will be returned to the expanded Make dialog, which will be set to use your new custom profile. 3.3 At this point, your profile will be a duplicate of the original template.

    To change the profile settings, click the Edit Profile button that has appeared at the bottom of the expanded make dialog. The config file for your profile will open in a text editor. 3.4 This file includes all the editable settings for the MakerBot Slicer. To change a setting, highlight a current value and type a new one in its place. When you're done editing, save and close the file. For more information on MakerBot Slicer settings and how to edit them, see our MakerBot Slicer page.

    Once you've saved your new settings, go ahead and start slicing with your custom profile. The profile will be saved in MakerWare, so next time you open up the advanced settings area, it will appear in the Profile drop-down menu.

    Start and End Gcode

    Any Gcode file you send to your bot should include a snippet of code at the front to do things like turn on the heaters and move the extruder to the starting position and a similar one at the end of the file to finish everything off. These are called the start and end Gcode files, and are attached to your toolpath after the slicing engine has generated it.

    MakerWare will generate start and end GCode and attach them to your toolpaths automatically, but if you want to use a custom file, you can do that too. See the MakerBot Slicer page for more details.

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