Makerbot Print

Makerbot Print is a Slicing Software used to generate a print path from a mesh geometry.

Makerbot Print

At the NExT Lab, we use Makerbot printers and we will use Makerbot Print to generate these files.

Alternative download link (.exe for Windows, .pkg for Mac)

Please install it and make an account with Makerbot.

If you are experiencing issues with Makerbot Print, ensure you have the latest version. You may also book a consultation with the NExT Lab as well.

Adding a Printer in Makerbot Print

Normally, you will connect to the printer via an internet network, but when submitting through the NExT Lab, you will be only preparing the files while we manage the printing for you so all you have to do is to setup an offline printer to simulate this workflow.

Add an unconnected printer using the button at the bottom right of the screen. At the NExT Lab, we use Replicator+, Replicator Z18 or Method Printers.

Once you have added the printers, Select the printer you wish to use - you will see this reflected in the build plate size and volume box.

If you are printing with the Makerbot Method, please follow this guide as usual as well as the appended Makerbot Method section below.

Setting Up Build Plates

Build plates are a representation of the print area of the Makerbot Printers. This is where you organise your files as this will determine how they ultimately print.

[INSERT] your .stl files on to your build plate(s) OR [OPEN] existing .print files.

Arranging the Build Plate

If you need to adjust the location, rotation or scale of any of your models, this can also be done through Makerbot Print using their suite of arrangement tools.

With an object selected, you can transform it from the viewport or inputting values. Good functions to note though are:

Arrange > Arrange Build Plate/Project will automatically next your geometry for you, it will not change the orientation though so orient first to account for overhangs, bridges and holes.

Orient > Place Face on Build Plates is very useful for snapping a face to the build plate, very helpful for complex surfaces composed of many angles.

Adding Helper Disks

Using sacrificial helper disks will also help to prevent warping. These disks can be added by clicking File > Insert Example File > Helper Disks, and should be placed at the corners of your models.

If you want to read up more on warping, check out this page:

pageCombating Warping

Multiple Build Plates

Adding Build Plates

If you require additional build plates due to a large request, add build plates as required in the Project Panel (Top Left, Folder Icon) if necessary. You will need to export these separately later.

Working with Multiple Build Plates

After adding as many build plates as you think you may need, when you insert/drop your meshes, Makerbot Print will automatically organise the build plates for you.

If you have already laid out each build plate in Rhino, then simply insert your meshes. Otherwise, you can lay out each build plate for your items as you would a single build plate.

If you want to move your meshes in between build plates, you can select your mesh and right click to bring up the options [Move to the build plate].

Download and use our default print settings.

pageAdjusting Print Settings

Accessed through the gear icon, settings determine how the model is 'Sliced' for the printer. This has ramifications for the aesthetics (e.g. layer heights affects resolution), strength (e.g. perimeters and orientation), and even handling (e.g. supports to model spacing affects how easy it is to remove support material) and many other parameters.


To start, set the Extruder to [Smart Extruder +]

Supports & Bridging

  1. If model has overhangs and cantilevers, supports should be turned on. [Support Type] > Breakaway Supports

  2. Decide whether you requires supports under bridges for really long bridges, or if all bridges are within an acceptable distance. [Support Under Bridges] > Turn on/Off

  3. Support density and Spacing may be configured for easier removal, at the cost of print accuracy.

Other Settings


  1. Layer height between 0.15mm and 0.3mm. Smaller layer heights equates to finer layers, but much longer prints. Larger layer heights equates to faster print times, but much more material used.

  2. Infill Density and Shells are used to determine strength.

  3. Smart zipper and fixed shell start may be configured to deal with the seam (i.e. where each layer starts printing from)

Base Layer

  1. The printers must print with a Raft or Padded Base. [Base Layer] > Select Type - Rafts are removable beds that take longer to print. - A padded base cannot be removed, but is faster to print.

Further settings are documented here:

pageAdjusting Print Settings

Or a more comprehensive overview is available here:

pageModelling Guidelines

Generate a Preview

Once your build plates are arranged, generate a print preview, and estimate. You will need to do this for each buildplate individually. Take note of the Material Usage Estimates; these details are important for submitting a print request. The filament usage estimate can be used to get a rough idea of cost.


Filenames cannot have spaces in them. Use an underscore ( _ ) instead.

Makerbot Files

Your file is now ready to be sent off to the printers. Export each build plate using the [EXPORT] button on the bottom right of the window. These will encode the build plate into 3D printing instructions for the printers in a .makerbot file.

Every build plate will need its own generated .makerbot file. These files tell the machines what to print, without them, there will be nothing to print!

Each .makerbot file needs to follow the following naming convention: (Time for this file)_(JobNumber of TotalJobs)_(VersionNumber).makerbot e.g. 8hr_5of8_v1 e.g. 2hr43_1of1_v3 e.g. 43m_2of5_v4

You must adhere to the above convention, but you may supplement it with a filename: e.g. 8hr_5of8_towerCBD_v3

With a single .print file exported, and a .makerbot file for each build plate, you are now ready to submit your 3D printing request, please head over to the next step.

pageSubmitting a Print Request

Saving Your Project

A .print file is your Makerbot Print project with all build plates, geometry and settings saved into one file so you may continue making edits.

To export a Print file, simply go to File > Save As and save out your project.

Makerbot Method

Specifically for the Makerbot Method, the slicing software provides the following extended options for the Dual Material extrusion.

Standard Printing

You can slice as normal with the following settings:

Extruder 1: 1A - PLA Support type: Breakaway Support

Printing with Dissolvable Supports

There will be a part of the print bed that will be dedicated for the Purge Tower; this is an automatic process where the extruder 'cleans' itself before interchanging materials.

Extruder 1: 1A - PLA Extruder 2: 2A - PVA Ensure the Support Type is set to Dissolvable Support to make use of the dissolvable material.

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