3D printing

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You can download the slides for a presentation on 3D printing we made for teachers here.



PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a common material for 3D printing. Considered easy because it sticks easier to the bed and cools down slower. Biodegradable.

Polymaker PolyPlus PLA

Extruder Temperature: 205°C (190-195°C for higher precision in X-Y) Bed Temperature: 60°C Improved Adhesion: None Smooth: With ethyl acetate (less dangerous), Tetrahydrofuran and Dichloromethane. Cost: 33€/spool 750gr, 44€/kg

Polymaker PC-MAX

Extruder Temperature: Bed Temperature: Improved Adhesion: None Smooth: Cost: 49€/spool 750gr, 65€/kg


High Impact Polystyrene Similar to ABS uses Limonene as a solvent making it good for support material.

Extruder Temperature: ~ 230°C Bed Temperature: ~ 85°C Improved Adhesion: UHU Smooth: Sanding, Limonene Cost: 40€/ kg

colorfabb nGen

nGen is made with Amphora AM3300 and has good flow properties through the printer nozzle - even at lower temperatures than some other polymers require. These properties make nGen more workable at a wider breadth of temperatures, producing reliable results and resulting in less waste. nGen exhibits advanced overhang ability, excellent looks, and large printing temperature range

Extruder Temperature: 230°C Bed Temperature: 85°C Improved Adhesion: None on PEI Smooth: Sanding Cost: 36€/spool 750gr, 48€/ kg

colorfabb XT

colorfabb HT



ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a common material for 3D printing. Better for making durable parts to withstand higher temperatures. What LEGO bricks are made of. While printing produces harmful fumes. Very bad warping. Not advisable for tall or big objects.

Extruder Temperature: ~ 240°C Bed Temperature: ~ 110°C Improved Adhesion: UHU, Dissolved ABS in acetone. Not required on PEI. Smoothing: Easy with acetone. Sanding: Yes Cost: 40€/kg

Nylon, PC-TPE


Cost: ~110€ /kg



colorfabb Woodfill

Cost: 40€/spool 600gr

Polymaker PolyWood


colorfabb Steelfill

Cost: 50€/spool 750gr Requires abrasive resistant nozzle

colorfabb Bronzefill

Cost: 50€/spool 750gr

colorfabb Copperfill

Cost: 50€/spool 750gr

colorfabb Brasslfill

Cost: 50€/spool 750gr

Conductive PLA

Cost: ~ 200€ /kg


The process of printing an object consists of designing or downloading a 3D object (in STL format), slicing it to produce the GCode and printing it.



OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file.


Blender is a professional free and open-source 3D computer graphics software product used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications and video games. Blender's features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing and compositing. Alongside the modeling features it also has an integrated game engine.


TinkerCAD is a browser-based 3D solid modelling tool for rapid prototyping known for its simple interface and entry-level ease of use.

  • [ Site]



To slice an object we open the object file (STL), position it on the bed (rotate, scale) set the settings. Load the appropriate profile according to material and quality (e.g. ABS medium).

A few things to have in mind before slicing:

  • Positioning of the object in order to get the structural strength that you want (Z layers are weaker) and avoid overhangs that require support material.
  • Infill usually 20% or 40%. Change according to what you print, think of strength and support of top layers.
  • Perimeters usually 2-4. Think of strength required or possible weak point.
  • Top & Bottom Layers usually 3. Think of strength required.
  • Support Material if needed and where.
  • Brim to increase the adhesion to the bed. To avoid warping of long objects (especially with ABS). A Brim is attached to your part and extends outward, similar to the brim of a hat. Brims typically have several outlines and may be 1-2 layers tall. Brims are often used to stabilize small parts or “islands” (isolated sections of a model, such as 4 legs of a table) because brims help these delicate areas stay connected to the print bed.
  • Raft A Raft is a horizontal latticework of filament that is located underneath your part. Rafts are primarily used with ABS to help with bed adhesion. Rafts are also used to help stabilize models with small footprints, or to create a strong foundation on which to build the upper layers of your part.


Both Cura and Slic3r are free software. Cura provides a simplified user interface that expands to a more advanced UI for manipulating settings. Slic3r provides more detailed settings manipulation. You can preview the gcode layer by layer in both applications.


Select the material and required quality.


Load the profile (.ini) file corresponding to the material and the required quality.



Sample files