8/Designing for the
In which we provide the reader with detailed
tutorials on how to bring envisioned objects in-
to 3D printed reality.
Now that you have experienced the instant gratification of printing, it is time
to explore the rapid prototyping capabilities of your MakerBot by designing
your own things. You probably have many project ideas already and this is
most likely why your purchased a MakerBot in the first place!
Once you understand the general design constraints of 3D printing you will
be able to start creating your very own things. In this chapter we provide an
overview of a variety of 3D modeling programs and tutorials that will get your
desktop factory cranking out your own designs in no time!
General Design Considerations
While there are several general considerations when designing for a Maker-
Bot desktop 3D printer, none of these are actual constraints. As long as you
keep these considerations in mind, any of them can be addressed in the
When designing your models, you should take the Replicator 2's equipment
capabilities into account. A MakerBot's positioning resolution is in the sub-
millimeter range. For the Thing-O-Matic, the X and Y axes can be controlled
to within 85 micron (about 0.003”) and the Z stage to within 4 micron
(0.0002”). The MakerBot Replicator and Replicator 2, with their improved
frame and superior electronics, can position the print head on the X and Y
axes to within 11 microns (0.0004”) and the Z stage to within 2.5 micron
It is important to note that this doesn't mean your MakerBot will be able to
print things that are 0.0004”. The minimum thickness of your parts also de-
pend upon the nozzle size of your extruder and material you are printing with.
Since the plastic it prints has an actual thickness, this means that it can po-
sition where the outer edge of that plastic is laid down with incredible