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Basic Print Settings
The Settings dialog in MakerBot Desktop allows you to change the way your 3D printer will print a model. It covers everything from whether you want your model to print with or without support to how the extruder retracts plastic when moving between different sections of your print.
The Quick tab in the Settings dialog contains settings that you might need to change frequently. These basic settings include layer height, infill percentage, whether to print a raft and support, and material and temperature settings. When you are happy with your settings, click OK to save them and close the dialog. Any print files you create will be generated using the currently selected settings. The video below goes over some of the most commonly used settings in MakerBot Desktop.
The settings on the left side of the Quick tab affect the composition of your model.
Choose the Low, Standard, or High Quality profile to specify which of our default profiles will be used to slice your 3D model.
- Standard Quality prints will print quickly and have good surface quality
- Low Quality prints will be printed with thicker layers and will have shorter print times.
- High Quality prints will have a smoother surface and longer print times.
Any other settings you change will be used to modify the base profile you choose here unless you create a new profile in the Custom tab.
Select the Raft checkbox to have your object built on a raft. The raft acts as a base for your object and any support structures and ensures that everything adheres well to the build plate. The raft is easily removable once your model is complete.
In most cases, rafts for dual extrusion prints will default to printing in mixed materials, with each part of the raft matching the part of your object it touches.
If you have MakerBot Dissolvable Filament selected as the material in one of your extruders, your raft will be printed with that extruder and the model will be printed with the other one.
If you are printing with a MakerBot Replicator Mini, all objects will be built on a raft. To print an object without a raft, you will need to create a custom profile and edit it in a text editor. For more information on editing profiles directly, click here.
If you have any kind of Fifth Generation MakerBot 3D Printer, you may need to adjust the Z-axis offset in order to print without a raft. Click here for more information.
MakerBot Desktop will generate supports for any overhanging sections of your object.
Select the Support check box to have your object printed with automatically generated support structures. Support material can be easily removed once your model is complete.
In most cases, supports for dual extrusion prints will default to printing in mixed materials, with each part of the support structures matching the part of your object they touch.
If you have MakerBot Dissolvable Filament selected as the material in one of your extruders, your supports will be printed with that extruder and the model will be printed with the other one.
Set the thickness of the individual layers of your printed object.
- Lower layer height will result in a smoother surface.
- Higher layer height will print the model quickly.
Set the density of your printed object’s internal support structure.
By default, the slicer will change the infill pattern it uses based on the infill density you set here when you have the Standard or High profile selected.
- Standard infill percentages will result in less infill patterns.
- High infill percentages will result in a heavier, stronger object.
To change the infill pattern, use the Custom tab.
Number of Shells
Set the number of outlines that will be printed on each layer of your object. Additional shells add to an object’s strength, weight, and print time.
Helper Disks are thin circular disks that you can add to your model to keep your print from warping. Helper Disks prevent warping* by interrupting long runs of plastic with short, curved segments, which are least likely to warp.
Helper Disks are typically placed at corners because corners are more prone to warping, but they can also be placed in the middle of a long edge of your print. Helper Disks are also available on MakerBot Print.
*Warping occurs when different layers of your print cool unevenly. Plastic shrinks as it cools, so cooler layers of plastic can pull warmer layers out of shape, causing the edges of your print to curl up or the layers to separate.
How to Use Helper Disks
- Open a 3D model in MakerBot Desktop.
- Go to File and select Examples.
- There are two different sized Helper Disks, large and small. Select Helper Disks and click on the size of the disk you want to add to the build plate. If you can’t find the disks in the example files, you may not be using the most recent version of MakerBot Desktop. Click here to download the latest version.
- The Helper Disk will appear at the center of the build plate. If you don’t see the Helper Disk, move your model to the side to reveal the disk. To do this, click on your model, select Move and drag the model away from the center.
- When your model is back in place, use the Move tool to move the Helper Disk to the corner of your model, so the disk just slightly overlaps with the corner of the model.
- You need Helper Disks for each corner of your model. You can copy and paste a Helper Disk to create more. Select the Helper Disk to copy and paste. You can copy and paste using the Edit menu or keyboard shortcuts.
- Slice and print your model by clicking the Print button. The MakerBot Slicer will treat the disks as part of your model.
- Once the print is finished, the disks can be peeled or cut away easily.
The settings on the right side of the Quick tab affect the operation of your 3D printer during the print.
Different materials print better with different settings. Make sure the material selected is the one you’ll be printing with.
If you have a MakerBot 3D printer with dual extruders you will see material fields for both the right and left extruders.
This setting will only appear if you have a Fifth Generation MakerBot 3D Printer connected or selected as your type of device.
If your printer is connected to MakerBot Desktop, the correct extruder will be selected automatically. If not directly connected, make sure you have the correct type of extruder selected.
Set the temperature to which the extruder will be heated during your prints. Different materials or print speeds will call for different print temperatures.
If you select a MakerBot 3D printer with dual extruders you will see temperature fields for both the right and left extruders.
If you select a MakerBot 3D printer with a heated build plate you will see a field where you can set the build plate temperature.
A higher temperature may make some materials adhere better to the plate. Although, too high of a temperature may distort the lower layers of your print.
Any time you change a setting in the Quick tab, an asterisk next to the setting name will indicate that the setting is no longer set to the default value. Click Restore Defaults to return all Quick settings to the default values.
The Settings dialog’s Custom tab allows you to edit more print settings, including print speeds and dual extrusion options. See the Custom Settings page for more information.
Creating Custom Profiles allows you to save a specific group of settings for slicing certain prints. See the Custom Profile page for more information.
Note: MakerBot Desktop is no longer in development. To upgrade to our newer software, please install MakerBot Print. If you are using a Replicator 2X, we recommend continuing with the MakerBot Desktop software.