MakerWare is software that enables you to prepare 3D models for building and send them to your MakerBot. MakerWare supports the Replicator 2 and 2X, the original Replicator, and certain Thing-O-Matics. See our page on using MakerWare with a Thing-O-Matic for more details. MakerWare is available free from makerbot.com/makerware. To get started with MakerWare, watch this video or follow the instructions below.
- Getting Started with MakerWare Watch
1. Go to http://makerbot.com/makerware and download the correct MakerWare installer for your operating system.
2. Open the installer and follow the directions to install the software.
3. Use a USB cable to connect your computer to your MakerBot 3D printer.
We're going to use some examples from Thingiverse to get you started with MakerWare. Go to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12762, a collection of Minimalist NYC buildings by JonMonaghan. We picked out two of our favorites: the Flatiron Building and the Woolworth Building. Click the Downloads button at the right side of the page. Find “FlatIron.stl” and “Woolworth.stl” and click on the file names to download them.
The MakerWare Interface
Open MakerWare. We're going to start by opening one of the downloaded files. Click on the Add button at the top of the window, just left of center. Navigate to the location of the file "FlatIron.stl" and select it.
2.1 The model should appear at the center of the gridded gray area. That's MakerWare's representation of your bot's build plate. The lines stretching out from the corners of the build plate represent the build envelope -- the area your bot can print in.
Now that you have a model open, we'll look at the things you can do with it. You have a number of options for viewing and manipulating the object and saving the file:
• Camera Home. Resets MakerWare to the default view of the object.
• +/-. Zoom in and out. You can also use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out.
• Look. Click the Look button or press the L key to enter Look mode. In this mode, click and drag with your mouse to rotate the plate and the object. Use the arrow at the side of the selected Look button to open the Change View submenu for Top, Side and Front views. 2.2
• Move. Click the Move button or press the M key to enter Move mode. In this mode, click and drag with your mouse to to move an object around the plate. Use the arrow at the side of the selected Move button to open the Change Position submenu and move an object by specific amounts. You can also use the Center and On Platform buttons to automatically center your object or move it to the build plate.2.3
• Turn. Click the Turn button or press the T key to enter Turn mode. In this mode, click and drag with your mouse to to rotate the object. Use the arrow at the side of the selected Turn button to open the Change Rotation submenu and rotate an object by specific amounts. You can also use the Lay Flat button to have the flat side of the object closest to the build plate placed on the plate.2.4
• Scale. Click the Scale button or press the S key to enter Scale mode. In this mode, click and drag with your mouse to to enlarge or shrink your object. Use the arrow at the side of the selected Scale button to open the Change Dimensions submenu and scale by specific amounts. You can also change your object's units from inches to millimeters and automatically scale your object to the largest size printable on your MakerBot. 2.5
• Object. Click twice to open the Object Information submenu. In this menu, you can assign an extruder to each object on the plate. The Object button will only appear if your computer is connected to a MakerBot with dual extruders or if you have a bot with dual extruders selected in the MakerBots menu.
• Add. Click this button to add an object to your build plate. You can add as many objects as you can fit on the plate.
• Make It. Click this button to open the Make dialog, where you can specify print resolution and other printing options and send your object to your MakerBot for building.
• Save. Allows you to save the current plate as a file for later use.
• Help. Opens a guide to MakerWare's basic functions.
• Status bar. This bar at the bottom of the MakerWare window displays the status of your connection to your MakerBot and the status of any print in progress.
We're going to add a second file, so we'll need to move the first one out of the way. Select the Move button and click and drag the Flatiron Building to the left. 2.6
5. Click on the Add button again. Navigate to the location of the file Woolworth.stl and select it. Now you should see both the Flatiron Building and the Woolworth Building models in your virtual build space.
Tip: You can also duplicate objects -- and you don't have to use the Add button. Just select the object, use Ctrl/Command+C to copy and Ctrl/Command+V to paste.
6. With more than one model open, you can manipulate them separately or together. Select one of the models, then click the Turn button or press the T key and rotate it 2.7.
Now let's do something to both models at once. Click on the Flatiron Building to select it. Hold down the shift key and click on the Woolworth Building. Then release the shift key. Both models should be selected.
7. Click the Scale button. Click and drag to change the size of both models together. 2.8
8. Click the Save button. The save dialog gives you the option to save your plate as an STL or a .thing file. STLs can be opened by a wide range of programs, but .thing files allow you to continue to edit the components of a plate separately. Specify a name and location for the file. For example, you could name the file flatiron_woolworth.thing. 2.9
9. Click the Make It button. 2.10 The Make dialog appears, with the following options:
• Make it Now/Export to File. If you want to send your print to your MakerBot directly via a USB cable, select Make it Now. If you want to print via SD card, or save a file for later, select Export to File. If your MakerBot is not connected to your computer, Export to File will be selected automatically.
• Make With. Select your MakerBot in the drop-down menu. If your bot is connected to your computer, it should be selected automatically.
• Material. Choose the type of plastic filament you're building with.
• Resolution. Specify the quality of your build. Higher resolution will result in more detailed models, but longer build times.
• Raft. Determine whether you want your object built on a raft. Rafts provide a base for supports and help your object stick to the build plate if the build plate is not level. You can easily remove rafts after building the object.
If you are printing on a MakerBot with a single extruder, this option will appear as a checkbox. When the box is checked, your object will be built on a raft. When the box is not checked, your object will be built directly on the build plate. If you are printing to a MakerBot with dual extruders, you will see a dropdown menu with additional options:
- Choose Off to have your object built directly on the build plate.
- Choose Color-Matched to have your object built on a raft of the same material as the object. If your object is being printed from a single material, the raft will automatically be built from the same material. If your object is built from two materials, each part of your raft will be built from the same material as the part of the object with which it is in contact.
- Choose Left Extruder or Right Extruder to always have the raft built from the material in the left or right extruder.
• Supports. Determine whether you want your object to include auto-generated support structures for overhanging parts of the object. You can easily remove supports after building the object.
If you are printing on a MakerBot with a single extruder, this option will appear as a checkbox. When the box is checked, your object will be built with support structures. When the box is not checked, your object will be built without support structures. If you are printing to a MakerBot with dual extruders, you will see a dropdown menu with additional options:
- Choose Off to have your object built without auto-generated support structures.
- Choose Color-Matched to have your object built with supports of the same material as the object. If your object is being printed from a single material, the supports will automatically be built from the same material. If your object is built from two materials, each section of the support structures will be built from the same material as the part of the object with which they are in contact.
- Choose Left Extruder or Right Extruder to always have the support structures built from the material in the left or right extruder.
• Extruder. If you are connected to a MakerBot with dual extruders or have a bot with dual extruders selected in the MakerBots menu, you will see a setting indicating which extruder will print your object. To change this setting, exit the Make dialog, select the object and use the Object Information menu so select the other extruder.
• Advanced Options. This opens up a menu with more detailed options. Go to our Advanced Options page for more information on these additional settings. One advanced option you might want to check out is Print Preview, which allows you to take a look at your print file before deciding to make it. Just check the Preview before printing box and click Make it! or Export! to take a look.
• Cancel. Click here to cancel your build.
• Make It!. Send the file to your MakerBot for building. If you have Export to a File selected, this option will appear as Export!
10. Choose your desired settings and click the Make It! or Export! button. MakerWare will slice your model and build or save the file.
Tip: You can cancel a slice or build by clicking the X at the corner of the slicing progress bar.