3D Printing FAQ

To sign up during the 3DPrinterOS rollout

If you would like to try the updated 3D Printing Service early, while we are still rolling it out, you are welcome to do so. Be aware that sign-up steps are more complicated during the roll-out, and you will need to contact us for a special Student Access Code to use during setup. Once the roll-out of 3DPrinterOS is complete (by the end of May 2019), you will not need to register anymore and will not need to go through all of these sign-up steps. You will just be able to sign into the service using MIT Touchstone.

Step 0: Contact us for the Student Access Code

Send email to 3d-print-srvc@mit.edu and let us know that you would like to sign up early for the new 3DPrinterOS based 3D printing service, and would like the Student Access Code. Please send us mail from your MIT email address, or include your MIT username/email in the message if you are sending us mail from a personal account.

Step 1: Complete the manual sign-up process for 3DPrinterOS

  1. Go to 3DPrinterOS at cloud.3dprinteros.com
  2. Click the SIGN UP tab
  3. Fill out the short account registration form and click the SIGN UP button
  4. Check your email for a confirmation message:
    • The message will come from michael at 3dprinteros.com
    • Remember to check your Junk folder in case the message was flagged by MIT’s mail system
  5. Click on the activation link to finish setting up your 3DPrinterOS account:
    1. Close the Tutorial window in your browser if it pops up
    2. Close the Quick Video window in your browser if it pops up
    3. Close the License Activation window in your browser if it pops up (you do not need to enter a license key)
  6. Click on the PRINTERS tab in top menu
  7. Click the +MORE button on the top right and select ADD WORKGROUP PRINTERS from the menu that pops up
  8. In the WORKGROUP ACCESS window that appears, enter this Student Access Code: and click the CONNECT TO WORKGROUP button
  9. That’s it! You should now see MIT’s Project Manus 3D printers in your list of active printers, and are ready to create and send jobs

To print an STL file during the 3DPrinterOS

  1. Sign into 3DPrinterOS at cloud.3dprinteros.com using the account you created
  2. Click the UPLOAD tab in the top menu upload your .stl file; remember to select the Single file radio button
  3. Click SAVE AND GO TO MY FILES when the upload completes; you will see your uploaded file along with a few test files (various ducks)
  4. Click the orange LAYOUT button in the Action 2 column for your file to open it in the web-based STL Editor; in it you will be able to position , scale, and duplicate the part; make sure the part is fully positioned inside the print volume, and that you include supports if necessary or the print will fail
  5. Use the PRINTER button in the ribbon to make sure the right printer is selected (Dremel 3D45)
  6. When you are ready to proceed click the SAVE & SLICE button to start the slicer
    1. You can set layer thickness, infill, and other basic properties in the SIMPLE tab
    2. If you have experience tweaking advanced settings, you can find them on the ADVANCED tab
    3. When you’re happy with your settings click SLICE & TOOLPATH PREVIEW
  7. The TOOLPATH VIEWER window will open to show you how your part will look on the printer; you can use the height range slider to browse through your print layer by layer; by default, infill and supports will be shown, but you can toggle the Show infill checkbox to turn visibility off and on
  8. The Info panel in the TOOLPATH VIEWER window will show you estimated cost for your job
  9. Click PRINT in the ribbon to send the job to a printer
  10. In the SELECT A PRINTER window, you will again see the estimated cost of your job, along with a list of available printers that match the printer hardware you selected in the LAYOUT window; select the printer to send your job to, and if it is available now click PRINT, otherwise click QUEUE to add it to the queue
  11. When your part is done printing, you will receive email that it is ready
  12. Go to MIT CopyTech in 11-004 to pay for your part and pick it up

How much does the 3D Printing Service cost?

The cost for the service is a per-job $4.00 setup charge$2.50 per hour of print time, and a material charge of $0.06 per gram. How long a job takes to print varies based on the model, your settings, and how you’ve laid it out on the build plate.

If a part fails to print, we will contact you to let you know.   We will not charge for failed prints and will make some suggestions on what needs to be changed if the model is not printable.

How to estimate the cost for my job

3DPrinterOS will estimate the cost of your job for you before you send it to the printer, in both the layout section and in the slicer. (The estimated cost will change depending on your layout and slicer parameters, which affect material use and print time) The estimated cost will also appear on your dashboard after you submit your job to the queue.

How to keep the cost down by planning your job

Many of the choices you make in how you scale and position your job, and the parameters you set in the slicer, will affect the cost of your job. Experiment with different settings. The slicer will accurately estimate the cost of your job as you change parameters. Find a balance between infill and wall thickness to give your part the strength it needs, without consuming material unnecessarily.

If you are printing several parts, one of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of your job is to combine as many parts as you can into a single job. Remember that each job has a fixed setup cost.

How do I pay for my print job?

When you pick up your 3D print you can pay via the payment methods accepted by CopyTech which include TechCASH, cash, and credit card. You can also use the MIT Mobius App to pay with TechCASH, including MakerBucks.

What materials are available?

Currently the printers we have are set up to print in PLA – Polylactic Acid. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch or sugarcane.

What colors are available?

At this time, we are limited to the colors that are loaded into the printer which will usually be MIT red, white, light blue, or gray. The color of filament that is loaded into a particular printer will be shown in the printer list in 3DPrinterOS. We currently we have two printers operating in CopyTech so you can choose which printer to submit your job based on loaded color or based on the queue for the printer.

When will my job be done?

You can monitor your job’s progress from the 3DPrinterOS DASHBOARD tab at cloud.3dprinteros.com/dashboard. This will tell you where in the queue your job is, and after it has started printing will show you job status along with estimated and real print time.

You will receive several email updates from the 3DPrinterOS service, including a message to let you know when your job was sent to the queue, was sent to the printer, and completed printing.

What printers are used for the service?

The service currently has two Dremel 3D45 printers. You can find more information about these printers on Dremel’s 3D45 product pages, along with detailed specifications.

Other questions?

If you did not find the answer to your question about the 3D Print Service above, please email us at 3d-print-srvc@mit.edu.