Keep Corners Flat With MakerWare’s Helper Disks


Here’s a great tip for every MakerBot user: use MakerWare’s Helper Disks to keep the corners of your model from curling up. 

Thingiverse users ctheroux and whpthomas have been great advocates for using Helper Disks, which act like feet on the corners of your model to help keep everything pinned down. When the MakerBot Slicing Engine sees the disks, it treats them as part of the model. Once the print is finished, the disks can be peeled or cut away pretty easily.

Below is a quick step-by-step for using these little lifesavers. Try Helper Disks out and share your experience with us in the comments below or on twitter: @makerbot.

helper discs in place

Step 1

Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of MakerWare. We’re always improving this software, and Helper Disks are only available in MakerWare 2.0 and later. Grab the latest version.

Step 2

Open your 3D model in MakerWare. The one in the screenshot above is the first floor of our Rodessa House model, which has a bunch of corners to pin down.

Step 3

The next step is adding the disks. They will open in the center of the platform, so first you should move your model out of the way. Select your model, then select “Move”. Drag the model away from the center, like this.

Rodessa moved

Step 4

Under “File”, open the “Examples” menu. Select either size under “Helper Disks”. For this model, we used the Small size.

helper discs menu

Step 5

A disk will appear in the middle of the virtual build plate. You can either repeat Step 4 as many times as you need, or simply select the disk, copy and paste. For this model, we needed six Helper Disks.

six discs

Step 6

Move the disks out of the way, and then move the main model back in place. Remember that you can move multiple files all at once in MakerWare by holding down Shift when you are selecting them, then click “Move” and on the side bar. When everything is in place, slide the Helper Disks to the corners with only a small amount of overlap with the main model.

helper discs in place

Step 7

Slice and print your model as usual by clicking the “Make It” button. You don’t need to do anything fancy to combine these pieces into a single model.

Once you’ve 3D printed the file on your MakerBot, the Helper Disks are easy to remove. In most cases they peel or snap off, but you can use a tool like wire cutters, too.


Step 8

Admire all the flat corners and upload a picture of your victory over curling to Thingiverse!