3D Printing Zone

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3D Printing Zone
Coordinator: Dylan Thies
Contact: 3dprinting@tvcog.net
Equipment List: 3D Printing Equipment
Zone Assistants: Assistants Needed


This zone provides access to a variety of entry-level Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers and slicing software. Some consumable material is provided.

Link to Wiki


Zone Orientation: Rules and Safety

The intent of the zone orientation is to familiarize new members with the capabilities, safety rules, and operational procedures of the 3D Printing Zone. It is not intended to provide detailed instruction on how to use the equipment. Those who are confident in their abilities to use the equipment may use it after completing the orientation. Those who are not should seek the assistance of the Zone Coordinator, other CoG members, or should enroll in an instructional class offered by the CoG.

General Safety

  1. Zone Coordinator: 3dprinting@tvcog.net, facilities@tvcog.net. Email Zone Coordinator about any broken equipment.
  2. No required personal protective equipment, but there are risks!
  3. Risk of burn from printer nozzles, and heated beds. Very hot!
  4. Risk of pinching, 3d printers are a specialized CNC machines and have moving parts and don’t know that your finger is there.
  5. Risk of shock. Makerfront printers are DIY and have exposed mains.
  6. Do not grab or impede the movement of any moving part while it is moving.
  7. Verify the filament type and diameter are compatible with the printer you are using.

General “Be Excellent to Each Other” Knowledge

  1. Clean up all scrap plastic when done.
  2. Place filament spools back on storage rack. Remove extra filament from the nozzle.
  3. Our filament collection is maintained by the community. Feel free to use it, but please donate a spool or some cash if you've used a bunch. (1kg spool is typically between $20 and $30).  
  4. Place all materials back in their storage area - SD cards, USB sticks, clippers, putty knives.
  5. Use the Parking Passes to communicate with others about your print. If you notice a failed print, stop the print and let the owner know.

Equipment Overview

All printers use 1.75mm filament.

Not all printers can accommodate the same filament types. Check the allowable materials on the safety cards.

  1. Mono Price IIIP
    1. PLA
    2. User-friendly interface
    3. uSD card
    4. ~6 x 6 in print surface
    5. BuildTak print surface
    6. 1.75mm filament
    7. 0.4mm (0.016in) nozzle
    1. PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, Flex PP, Nylon, ASA
    2. SD card
    3. 250 x 210 x 200 mm print size
    4. 1.75mm filament
    5. 0.4mm (0.016in) nozzle
  3. Tevo Tornado
    1. PLA, PETG
    2. SD card
    3. 300mm x 300mm x 400mm print volume
    4. BuildTak print surface
    5. 1.75mm filament
    6. 0.4mm (0.016in) nozzle
    7. Small parts – Use only if the other printers are occupied.
    8. Large parts – Please supply your own filament.
  4. 3D scanner
    1. MakerBot scanner
    2. Very finicky. Patience required to get it to output something useful!
    3. Play with lighting and surface finish to improve results.

General Process for Printing Something

  1. Prepare bed
    1. Heated BuildTak: wipe clean with alcohol, if using petg apply glue stick (or you will have hard time getting it off)
    2. Non-heated: Apply one layer of blue tape. Do not overlap.
  2. Install filament
    1. PreHeat nozzle for filament type
    2. Verify filament type and thickness are compatible with printer.  We only have 1.75 mm printers
  3. Load model into Simplify 3D.
  4. Select predefined parameters for selected machine.
    1. Adjust as needed for your model. (don’t overwrite profiles!)
  5. Supervise at least 2 layers of printing before leaving the machine.
    1. Most printer malfunctions occur in the first few layers.
  6. Fill out a “Parking Pass” to inform others about your print, and when you will return to get it
    1. If print is not claimed within 48 hours of the stated pickup time, it will probably be removed and may be ruthlessly destroyed.

General clean-up procedure

  1. Remove filament from printer, place in a plastic bag with desiccant, verify filament is still labeled with type, and return to storage rack.
  2. Remove excess filament from nozzle.
  3. Delete all files from SD cards, return SD cards to storage tray.
  4. Clean bed of any residual plastic. Be careful not to damage the bed.

Useful Resources & Tips

  1. Printing takes time. Most prints range from several to tens of hours. Try to break down larger items into smaller parts, if possible. What adds the most time is Z movements (height). Also reduce infill percentage.
  2. As a rule of thumb, the smallest prints can be 3x the nozzle diameter and at least two layers thick. Most nozzles here are 0.4mm (0.016in).
  3. Typical printing speeds should be less than 70mm/s and movement speeds less than 90mm/s. For fine detail, 30-40mm/s is recommended. Most machines have a locked in max speed. Unless you really need it, don’t change the printing speed.
  4. For complicated prints, use both raft and supports.
    1. Rafts are for non-flat bottoms
    2. Supports are for overhangs and large bridges


  1. Can you print or model something for me?
    1. No. We are an educational group - we teach others to fish, we don’t do the fishing.

Reference Information