The NExT Lab charges a small fee to cover the cost of materials.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.The object is created using an additive process where successive layers of material are laid down until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
The NExT Lab provides access to a print farm of 32 Makerbot 3D printers. All 32 printers are controlled and managed by the Makerbot Innovation Centre software. Simply upload your file to the cloud and the NExT Lab technicians will take care of the rest. The 3D printing facilities are ideal for design exploration models and prototypes. With some light post production prints can reach exhibition quality.
Our 3D printers
The all new Makerbot Replicator + is engineered and extensively tested for reliable, faster 3D printing. It is the perfect tool for you to quickly and cheaply test and bring new ideas to life.
- Print Material: PLA Plastic in a range of colours
- Print Area: 295mm L x 195mm W x 165mm H
- The Makerbot Z18 provides extra-large printing area allowing the creation of extra- ultra-tall concept models and prototypes. Allowing you to think and build bigger than ever at an affordable price.
- Print Material: PLA Plastic in a range of colours
- Print Area: 300mm L x 305mm W x 457mm H
Why use 3D printing?
3D printing enables you to produce functional complex shapes cheaply and without needing a detailed understanding of manufacturing. 3D Printers can use a wide range of materials and processes to create objects with different qualities and characteristics.
The NExT Lab 3D printers use a technology called Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM. It uses an extruder, which acts similar to a hot glue gun, to melt plastic filament at 215℃, and finally is “extruded” out of a small nozzle into the layers that build a 3D print. You can use these 3d printers to create a huge variety of objects, such as prototype parts for inventions, scale models for architecture or a house hold item to improve your home.
The NExT Lab offers a range of training to help you learn how to create a 3d printable file, prepare it for printing and submit it to the print farm. This training includes:
Video tutorials and guides to help you understand and use the tech in the FabLab and MSD Maker Spaces are provided at the online Training Centre. Each process is broken down into bite-sized steps. Follow all the guides for a broad overview, or get help with a particular step. The catalogue will be continue to grow, so keep an eye out for new content.
At the beginning of semester a range introductory sessions are scheduled in NExT Lab. Come along and learn about the fundamentals, such as how to setup and prepare laser cutting files, software basics and how to submit a 3D print. No previous experience required.
If you want to learn advanced techniques and processes to extend the possibilities of each technology, these are the sessions for you. Each week a range of sessions will be scheduled - each focusing on a particular technique or skill. You can come to one session or all to get a detailed understanding of the tech. For a full list of sessions, check the events page.
Book a consultation with the NExT Lab's experienced staff to get help with complex technical challenges specific to your project. Before making a booking, it is expected that you have completed the Introductory and Expansion sessions and attempted to resolve the problem independently.
For a full explanation of the training available visit the Training Page.
Everyone is welcome to submit a job to be printed at the NExT Lab 3D print farm. If you are new to the NExT Lab simply follow the instructions below to submit a job. If you are an old hand at 3D Printing through the NExT Lab simply submit a job.
How to submit
You can submit a 3D print job at any time, day or night, and it will be processed by NExT Lab staff during open hours on week days.
To print on the NExT Lab 3D Print Farm, you must create a 3D file, prepare it in MakerBot Print, and send it to your MakerBot Innovation Centre.
Create a 3D file
In order to 3D print, you must have a 3D file. Here are a few ways to get a file:
- Find a file online from websites like thingiverse.com
- Design an object to print in a 3D modelling or CAD program
- Scan an existing object with a 3D scanner.
For help creating your 3D file please visit the Training Center.
Prepare your model for print
Before sending a 3D file to your NExT Lab 3D Print Farm, you must prepare the file for 3D printing. This includes checking the size and thickness of the object is possible to print as well as inputting any specific print settings you may require.
- This will require you to setup your file in Makerbot Print, the dedicated software to prepare and send files to Makerbot 3d printers. Download Makerbot Print
- Download the NExT MakerBot settings below and import them into your 'custom settings'.
- Preparing your 3D file for a successful print can be easy if you follow the tutorials in the Training Center.
- Try the cost calculator to estimate the cost of your print before submitting.
Submit to MakerBot Innovation Centre
Before you submit your print to the NExT Lab Makerbot Innovation Centre, make sure that your Print Request & .makerbot file adhere to the following format:
Innovation Center Platform
PROJECT NAME: (student number)_(hours of printing TOTAL)_(Rep+/Z18 printer)_filename
Uploaded .makerbot File
(hours of printing FOR FILE)_1of(total number of files in project)_filename.makerbot
If you are unsure please ask the NExT Lab staff or risk having you print being cancelled.
When you are confident your model has been setup in accordance with NExT Lab requirements you can submit it to the NExT Lab Makerbot Innovation Centre, simply click the button below.
Collect from NExT Lab
You will be notified by email when your job is complete. Please come to the NExT Lab during opening hours to pay for and collect your print.
To further enhance your project there are many post production techniques found in on the Makerbot website that you can use to improve the quality of your print.
The cost of a 3d print using the Makerbots is calculated by the amount, or weight, of plastic that is used to print the object. This includes the amount needed for the raft and support structures for the print to complete successfully.
To calculate the cost, simply upload your file to be printed to Makerbot Print Software and prepare it for printing using the setting you require. For more information on how to setup your print please refer to our Training Centre. Once your file is setup, the software will calculate the weight of the 3d print in grams. Now input this weight in grams into our cost calculator below and this will estimate your print costs.