3D Printing

3D Print Submissions

Submit your 3D print file to the print queue here.

Submit a 3D Print

See our design gallery and project ideas!

How does the print submission service work?

When a student or teacher submits a print, it is added to the print queue in the order received. Wait time is dependent on a few factors, including the number and size of prints in the queue, project priority, and printer availability. School projects are always given priority but we do accept personal projects at the school’s discretion.

It is important to know that not all submitted designs will be printed. Some designs may not be printable due to design flaws. In this case, you will be notified if a design is unprintable. These prints can be resubmitted with changes but may be moved to the end of the queue. Other projects may not be worth printing due to simplicity a lack of priority. Staff reserve final judgment as to whether a file will be printed.

How does 3D printing work?

A 3D print starts off as a digital design file that is “sliced” into hundreds of thin layers that communicate to the printer how and where to print. Our Makerbot printers use a polylactic acid (PLA) based filament that heated and extruded layer by layer in order to build up a three dimensional design.

What kind of printers do you have available?

Melrose High School currently has two Makerbots: a Mini and a Replicator (5th Gen.). The Mini has a print area measuring 10cm^3 and the Replicator has a printable area measuring roughly 28cm(L) by 15cm(W) by 15cm (H). Both use PLA filament.

What is the “raft”?

A raft is a flat latticework of filament that is laid down on the print bed to help with adhesion. The raft also provides a flat surface and helps stabilize smaller builds and create a stronger foundation for prints. Rafts are designed to easily break off finished prints.

What is “infill”?

Infill is a percentage representing the amount of filament inside the print. Our default infill is 20%, which provides a good balance of strength and printing speed. Normally, an infill of 100% is unnecessary and wastes filament, while an infill in single digits will not provide enough strength to effectively render a useful finished print.

What are “supports”?

Supports are loose structures added to help provide stability for parts of a design that would otherwise collapse while printing because of a lack of designed support structure. For example, you could not print a letter “T” because the horizontal arms would collapse without supports. These supports (also referred to as scaffolding) is designed to break off easily when the print is finished. However, if supports are turned on, they may be difficult to remove from tiny or detailed spaces, so consider the amount of detail in your print before you decide whether supports are necessary.

How can I improve the quality of my prints?

While the Makerbot Replicator has a “high” option for print quality, in general, the number of shells and layer height can be manipulated to produce a higher quality print. The number of shells will increase the strength of the print but may sacrifice quality and detail. Layer height sets the height of each additional layer of filament added to the print. Smaller layers result in higher detail but longer print times.

How much does a print cost?

For the Makerbot Mini, prints cost roughly 10 cents per gram. Larger spools for the larger printer cost less per gram based on purchasing higher volumes of filament. For now, student prints are free, but a fee may be assessed for personal printing depending on the amount of filament needed for a project at the school’s discretion.

Can I 3D print at home?

Yes! The Makerbot Mini is comparable in price to a high end laptop computer. Spools of filament are $12 and up, making 3D printing a relatively affordable technology that will continue to drop in price as technology improves.

If you have any questions, see Ms. G, Mr. Scudder, or any Student Tech Leader in the library.