• August 8, 2020

3D Printing Guide for FDM

3D Printing Guide for FDM

3D Printing Guide for FDM 1024 1024 Seattle Makers

Seattle Makers 3D Printing Guide for FDM

To print FDM at Seattle Makers, we use software (called a slicer) named PrusaSlicer. There are many other slicers out there, but this works best with our printers. You can also set a profile for other printers that are not made by Prusa.  Below is a guide to getting started, as well as reference materials for those who have completed certification.

Awesome reasons for using PrusaSlicer:
  • You can test slicing (preparing prints) files at home.
  • It’s free.
  • Competitive feature-wise as compared to Simplify3D (a $100 software).
  • If you slice on-site on your laptop, you can wirelessly send print jobs to the printers. No touching of SD cards or the public computer.
  • It is optimized for use with our Prusa MK3s Printers (same company).

ℹ️ Note: You may need to be re-certified if you previously used Simplify3D, but many of the lessons you’ve learned about our previous printers will still be relevant. Printing will be easier than ever before.

*If needed, Simply3D is still on the computer here at the space, but it will not be the preferred method or updated.

First Time Setting up PrusaSlicer

PrusaSlicer Software

View of PrusaSlicer

Download PrusaSlicer software here.
This link will take you to the Prusa Website to download the correct version for your operating system.

If you’re new to PrusaSlicer, check out their awesome documentation for getting started. We also cover how to use it in our 3D Printer certification course.

First Time Opening PrusaSlicer

Upon opening PrusaSlicer the first time, the Configuration assistant will automatically run.

Click Next on Config Assistant

Then select:

1. Three checkboxes for the Prusa Mini.

2. Three check boxes shown here for the Original Prusa i3 MK3S & MK3S+.

Click next until you see Filament Profiles Selection. Click All, then Finish.

Click All, then Finish.

Setting up Printer Profiles & Settings

Our Prusa MK3s printers are stock, so using the default profiles we just installed in PrusaSlicer should work fine. However, we also have some non-Prusa printers that have some specialized profiles, as well as needing to add our filament profile. Franklin, our large format printer, is one example. We have our profiles online for download, so you can install them for your use.

Download our custom profiles by clicking here.

  • Unzip the file
  • Open PrusaSlicer and click on File>Import>Import Config Bundle
  • Select the file SeattleMakers_config_bundle.ini to import all the profiles for our printers.
  • If they import successfully, congratulations!

Import Config Bundles


How to Print!

The overview of Printing!

  1. Slice Your File
  2. Prepare The Printer
  3. Send G-Code to printer (Print!)

1. Slice Your File

To ensure that our printers continue to operate at peak efficiency please use our profiles. How to install them is shown right above this post.

Default Printer Profiles & Settings

These are the recommended starting settings for our printers. As part of the 3D printer certification, we show you step by step how to use PrusaSlicer if it is your first time.

ℹ️ Note: The rest of this sections assumes you have installed our profiles. Please see above for instructions on installing our printer profiles.

Jinja & Admiral – Prusa MK3s

Print Settings: 0.20mm QUALITY
Filament: eSun PLA +
Physical Printer: Original Prusa i3 MK3S - Jinja

After choosing the preferred settings in PrusaSlicer:

  • Import your model (STL, OBJ, AMF, 3MF)
  • Arrange on build plate
  • Make necessary changes to layer height or other settings.
  • Slice your file
  • Repeat as necessary

As always, Maketeers are here to help if you have questions about slicing.

Here’s a link to the documentation about PrusaSlicer.

2. Prepare The Printer

  1. Check the printer bed for previous print, please ask a Maketeer or the printing member if a print is complete to remove it from the bed. Please don’t be responsible for breaking someones print.
  2. Schedule & Pay
    • Book time on the Google Calendar
    • Pay in the store for your machine time.
    • If the print fails and has to be stopped mid-print, you will only be charged for the time the print was running and be refunded the difference.
  3. Choose Spring Steel Bed Type
    • Determine the correct Spring Steel Sheet (bed) to use based on Filament Type
      • PLA, ASA, PP = Smooth Sheet
      • PETG, TPU, FLEX = Textured Sheet
    • Steps to change Spring Steel Sheet (bed) – Please follow these instructions carefully, not following all steps will result in damage to the printer. This article goes into more detail about changing the steel sheets.
      • Sheets are kept on the shelf below the printers
      • Remove the current spring steel sheet
      • Grab new sheet, remove the clip with the label “Change Type,” and place it on the old sheet.
      • Place new sheet on bed
      • Change the sheet type on the printer
        • Enter Menu
        • Scroll down to “SHEET”
        • Hit Enter once
        • Verify the name now matches the sheet type (Smooth1 = Smooth Sheet, Textur1=Textured Sheet)
  4. Clean/Prepare the bed
    • Ensure the bed is clear of debris and filament
    • Wipe the bed down with KimTech Tissue Wipes and isopropyl alcohol
  5. Ensure filament is loaded and is the correct color
    • To Un-Load Filament
      • Using the wheel on the printer, navigate to “Un-Load Filament”
      • It will ask for filament type, choose PLA
      • Wait for the printer to heat up.
      • Press the Button to unload (Franklin will unload automatically when it reaches temp)
      • Remove roll carefully, ensuring it doesn’t become unwound.
      • Clip off the very end of the filament to remove the blob.
    • To Load Filament
      • Place roll of filament on printer
      • Clip off the very end of the filament is there is a blob.
      • Insert filament into extruder head
      • For Prusa
        • It will detect there is filament.
      • For Franklin
        • Using the wheel on the printer, navigate to “Load Filament”
      • It will ask for filament type, choose PLA
      • Wait for the printer to heat up.
      • Press the Button to load (Franklin will load automatically when it reaches temp)
      • If filament is flowing correctly
        • For Prusa
          • Extruding Correctly? Yes
        • For Franklin
          • Continue Purge? No
      • Remove extruded filament from nozzle.


3. Send G-Code To Printer (Start Printer)

No longer will you have to transfer your files to an SD card, and then manually insert the card into the printer. Using a raspberry pi and a program called OctoPrint, we now can send our G-Code directly from the slicer or web interface to the printer.

ℹ️ Note: If you are having trouble with an Octoprint Interface, please ask a Maketeer. SD cards can be used as a backup, but please defer to them to make that determination.

There are two ways to send your print.
Directly from PrusaSlicer

This requires you to install an API Key in PrusaSlicer. Please contact Jeff on Slack (@Jeff) to get the API key. This allows you to send files to OctoPrint and start your print without using the web browser.

After you’ve finished slicing:

  • Double check you have the correct printer.
  • Click the tiny button in the lower right corner “G>.”

  • If desired, check “Start Printing after upload.”
  • Click “OK.”

Print Click "OK"

Upload via web browser (When on-site)

After you’ve finished slicing:

  • Export your sliced file to the desktop.
  • Ensure you’re on Seattle Makers Wifi.
  • Open a web browser and travel to Octoprint page.
    • Convention for webpage is http://octopi{name of printer}.local/ (example: http://octopifranklin.local/ allows you to get to Printer “Franklin”)
  • Login to OctoPrint (case sensitive).
    • Login: member
    • Pass: letsprint
  • Drag your file onto the OctoPrint web page. The page will change while dragging, and aim for the left side where it says “Upload Locally.”

OctoPrint Upload

  • Check the name to make sure it’s your file, and click the print icon on your Print!
    • If it’s helpful, you can click the small wrench to change to “sort by upload date.”

Octoprint start print

How to Install the OctoPrint API’s

Ask Jeff or Jeremy via Email or Slack for an API Key. One is needed for each printer.

Other 3D Printing Resources:

Find and compare filament colors at https://filamentcolors.xyz/library/


Maintenance etc.

Various info on upkeep and repair of 3D printers.

Filament Spool Holders

Occasionally a part on the filament holders breaks – the original model is here: https://www.printables.com/model/6781-prusa-i3-mk2s-mk3-spool-holder-frame-mount-top-loa/files and files are saved on the 3d printer station computer under C:\maker-space-files\prusa-i3-mk2s-mk3-spool-holder-frame-mount-top-loader-model_files

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