How to Print to the 3D Printer

makeit-2782At the present time the Ultimaker 3D printer uses an SD card to print from. Here are the steps that a customer would need to do to get a file to print.

  1. Customer needs to create or find a 3D object. There are many 3D programs out there including free versions (Google SketchUp, Blender) and fancy puchased options (3DS Max, Maya, Hexagon 2, Lightwave3D)
  2. Customers need to export the file from the 3D software program to one of these formats: STLOBJ, DAE or AMF
  3. Customers will need to import (load) the file into the free software that the Ultimaker uses (Cura). Once the file is loaded they will need to save the file format that the printer needs (gcode).
    File > Save GCode
  4. Customers will need to take the gcode file and put it on an SD card or USB drive. If it is on a USB drive staff will need to transfer the file to an SD card.
  5. Once here customers will take the card to the service desk and ask for it to be printed.

I will be working on a video/screencast of this but in general this is how it’s done.

Questions don’t hesitate to ask.

6 thoughts on “How to Print to the 3D Printer

  1. Lissa Staley on said:

    This is great info – thank you! Are the free softwares required to use the 3D printer available on the two computers in the Make It Lab? Or can we download them to any of the (new) public computers?

    • Michael Perkins on said:

      Yes SketchUp and Cura are loaded on the iMacs. We have plans to install SketchUp and Cura on the new Public PCs when they get rolled out in the main areas of the library. We do not have plans on installing the software on the old computers since we are relatively close to saying goodbye to those dinosaurs 😉

  2. Kimberly Sain on said:


    Regarding this statement: “Here are the steps that a customer would need to do to get a file to print.”

    Will these instructions be posted in the room? I didn’t notice this on Monday when I was in there.

    How will customers access your video/screencast of this procedure?

    Thank you,


  3. Carrie Cummings on said:

    How can a person tell if their object is going to attach to the plate of the printer in Cura? Lloyd and I were helping a customer this afternoon and even when we selected supports and a base it still didn’t successfully print. He was thinking it was still trying to print in midair.

  4. Carrie Cummings on said:

    Websites for finding 3D objects (some free, some not) that I’ve come across:,,, The first two don’t require an account, the last two do, I believe. is the community/sharing site for the Cura software so you can get to it within the program as well as just going to the link.

    Anyone else have some recommended sites to find 3D printing files?