Workshop: Introduction to 3D printing with the Prusa I3 MK3S 3D Printer

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(Generally, this workshop is offered at least once every week on a rotating basis. Check the DaBL calendar for up-to-date availability!)

The Prusa I3 MK3S is a 3-axis CNC printer - an additive manufacturing machine. Fabricating with this machine is relatively simple. The CAM software used to convert your CAD model into a set of instructions this machine will understand is called Cura.

The Process

3D printing consists of only three steps:

  1. Preparation
  2. Print
  3. Clean up


  1. CAM the object
  2. Set up the machine
  3. Set up the material

CAM the object

  1. Start Cura.
  2. Open your stl model. It should appear in the build area.
  3. In the top left of the interface:
    1. In the machine selection, make sure the Prusa I3 MK3S is selected.
    2. In the material selection, make sure "Hatchbox Hatchbox PLA" is selected.
  4. Set the parameters how you want them. For a basic print, the Basic interface allows for only the four most important features of the print:
    1. Layer height:
    2. Infill percentage:
    3. Support:
    4. Adhesion:
  5. Send the resulting CAMed g-code to the printer.

Set up the machine

  1. Turn on the machine
  2. Spot check on the machine: make sure the bed is clear and the extruder nozzle isn't covered in hardened filament
  3. Open a browser and point it to [ip address]:5000, then wait for the interface to load

Set up the material

If you need to put a new spool of filament on:

  1. In the interface
  2. Once it has reached target temperature, switch back to "Control" tab.
  3. If there is already filament loaded, you will need to:
    1. Gently pull the teflon tube out of the gantry entry point.
    2. Gently grasp the filament at the gantry entry point.
    3. In the interface, retract the filament by 10mm. While this is happening, apply a gentle pull to the filament. It should pull completely out after one or two of these retractions.
    4. Roll up the filament back onto the spool, and package the spool back up. If you are using DaBL's filament, make sure the box you place it in is marked as "USED".
  4. Once there is no spool attached to the machine:
    1. Place the new spool on the spool holder with the end of the filament spiraling off of the bottom in a clockwise manner.
    2. clip the end of the filament so that it is clean and there are no burrs.
    3. Slide the filament into the teflon tube, and push it all the way through until it exits the other end.
    4. Grasp the gantry on either side of the top of the aluminum casing, pressing in the lever on the right side. This part of the gantry is not heated.
    5. With your other hand, gently push the end of the filament into the extrusive assembly. Keep gently pushing until the extruder begins to extrude filament.
  5. Your material is set up!


  1. In the interface, switch to the "Print" tab.
  2. Find your design in the list of designs and press the "Print" button next to it.
  3. Wait!

Clean up

Make sure to always leave the machine cleaner than what you found it! Remove any and all support material and excess unwanted filament from the machine so that the next person who uses it has a clean starting palette.