How to ...
3D Print

I want to 3D print!

Get started

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Should the 3D printer ever run out of material, do not attempt to change this yourself. The printers can easily get damaged and clogged with improper material changes, so ask either Mr. Kydd or Mr. Hackshaw to do this.

It's easy to get started with 3D printing! Before we start, there are a few tools that you need to download and get running first.

First, download Cura (opens in a new tab) on your computer. You can get a download link to it here (opens in a new tab).

Click on the type of computer you have to download the correct file. If you are using a Chromebook, hop onto one of the school computers in Te Wāhi instead.

Download popup box

Once it's finished downloading, double-click on the file to start the installation process. Open Cura when it has finished installing.

When you first open Cura, it will ask if you want to create an Ultimaker Account. Skip this for now as it won't have any effect on your prints.

Type of printer

You will need to add the printers that we have in the maker space to your Cura. Select under Non-Networked Printers, and click on Ultimaker 2 Extended+.

Now that you have added one of the printers, you will be able to see a virtual version of the printer bed. This is where you can drag and drop your 3D models to prepare for printing.

Download a model

With Cura ready, it is time to download something to print.

Follow these indepth steps here for searching for and downloading something off of Thingiverse (opens in a new tab). By the end of this you should have at least one 3D file that is ready to prepare in Cura.

With your downloaded file, drag and drop this onto Cura. You will see a preview of it appear onscreen.

Drag and drop onto Cura

The tools along the lefthand side will let you move, resize, stretch and rotate your model to anywhere on the printer bed.

Lefthand side tools

Because 3D printing works in layers, you need to create supports for any overhanging parts of your model, otherwise they will fall off! Luckily, Cura does this automatically when you select the Support box.

Generating supports selected

Depending on the size of your print, the total number of supports and the level of detail selected, your print might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. We can see how long it will take by clicking the Slice button.

Slice button checked

When you are happy with your prepared file, click Save to Disk and generate a GCODE file (these are instruction files that our printers can read and understand).

GCODE save as

Now that we've prepared our print and generated a GCODE file, it's onto the last step.

Loading the printer

Grab the SD memory card that is plugged into the Ultimaker machine. We want to get our GCODE file onto here.

SD card to load file

Use an adapter or other cable to get the card connected to your computer. Te Wāhi and the Art Department both have adapters you can borrow to get this connected.

Once the card appears on your computer, simply drag and drop your GCODE file onto it, and then eject when finished.

Loading SD card

Ejected SD card

Your file is on! Now plug the card back into the machine, and using the scroll wheel find your print to get started.

Selecting the file

The printer will take a little while to heat up before it starts printing. Leave it and come back to it later to get your completed print!


If you want to print more complex and customised 3D models, follow these exact same steps but also take a look at Meshmixer (opens in a new tab).

Last updated on June 14, 2023