- This is a type of print defect characterized by
a ripple pattern which quickly dampens and is seen on the
vertical faces of prints, particularly after a direction change
in the surface.
- Making a 3D print using two extruders — dual
extrusion — is sometimes referred to “dualstrusion”. The
term was coined by MakerBot when they first began
experimenting with dual extrusion for their Thing-o-Matic
- Your printer contains a section of permanent
memory called “EEPROM”. The term “EEPROM” is
an acronym for Electrically Erasable Programmable
Read-Only Memory. This permanent memory is used by the
printer to store configuration and usage information. The
printer’s “onboard parameters”, sometimes called “onboard
preferences”, are stored in its EEPROM.
- The SD cards used with your printer utilize
a “file system” to organize the files on the card. Sailfish
supports two types of file systems: FAT-16 and FAT-32.
All modern operating systems can set up your SD card
using either of those two file systems. However, you may
not be given a choice of which to use: often FAT-16 is
automatically seleced for SD cards with 2 GB or less space
and FAT-32 is used for larger cards.
- Firmware is the software that is embedded in
hardware and used to control the operation of the hardware.
- Gcode, sometimes written as “G-code”, is a numerical
control programming language used to control the
operation of machine tools such as 3D printers. While
there is an international standard for gcode, the 3D
printing community loosely adheres to it. For example,
different 3D printers accept different variations of gcode.
MakerBot printers do not even directly accept gcode and
instead consume a binary language known as S3G. The
specific gcodes produced by different slicers and accepted
by different printers are often not well specified.
- The third generation of RepRap 3D printer electronics
was referred to as “Gen 3” electronics. The MakerBot
Cupcake uses this generation of RepRap electronics.
- The fourth generation of RepRap 3D printer electronics
was referred to as “Gen 4” electronics. The MakerBot
Thing-o-Matic uses this generation of RepRap electronics.
- GPX is software used to convert gcode to S3G/X3G for
use with a MakerBot style printer. GPX may be found at
Thingiverse as Thing #81425.
- Heated Build Platform. Some printers include a build
platform which incorporates a heater to enable heating of
the build surface to a designated temperature. Heating the
build surface promotes better adhesion and may, for some
plastics, reduce warping.
Heatsink cooling fan
- Many MakerBot-style 3D printers
include, for each extruder, a heatsink which helps cool
portions of the extruder. This heatsink often includes a fan
mounted to the heatsink and which helps move air past the
heatsink’s cooling fins.
- Each printer has three home offsets: the X, Y,
and Z home offsets. Each value defines the printer’s position
along the associated axis after homing to an endstop on
that axis. See Section 4.1 for further information.
- Each model to be printed is comprised of an exterior and
an interior. While the exterior is typically printed solid with
no holes or gaps, the interior may range anywhere from
completely empty to completely solid. The plastic printed
in the interior is known as “infill” and its solidity is the
“infill percentage”. For example, 0% infill means the print
is completely hollow and 100% infill means it is fully solid.
Printing time is reduced and plastic is saved by printing
with infill percentages significantly less than 100%. The
amount of infill you should use depends upon the nature of
the piece being printed and its intended usage.
- The Sailfish firmware was originally named
“Jetty Firmware”. Originally based upon v3.1 of the
G3Firmware from MakerBot, the Jetty Firmware was first
released in 2011 as v3.2. (Note that the G3Firmware from
MakerBot applied to both Gen 3 and Gen 4 electronics.) In
early 2012, portions of Marlin were ported to MakerBots
and incorporated into the Jetty Firmware. In October 2012,
the Jetty Firmware was renamed to Sailfish and released as
Sailfish v4.0 for Thing-o-Matics and Cupcakes and as v6.2
- LCD is an acronym for “Liquid Crystal Display”. Many
3D printers include a LCD screen on their front and use it
to display information and as part of their interaction with
users via an associated keypad.
- The MightyBoard is the name MakerBot gave
to the electronics in their Replicator 1 and 2 series of
printers. The Replicator 1 contains a MightyBoard revision
E board (“rev E”). The Replicator 2 contains either a
MightyBoard rev G or H board depending upon with which
the printer was manufactured. The Replicator 2X contains
a MightyBoard rev H.
- Many 3D printers store within their
microprocessor configuration parameters which may be
read and changed by users. As these parameters live within
the printer, they are referred to as “onboard parameters”.
They are typically stored in the printer’s EEPROM.
- When the extruder outputs a surplus of
plastic, over-extrusion results. Over and under-extrusion
are caused by a mismatch between the slicer’s expectations
and reality: the slicer expects that when a millimeter of
raw filament is fed into the extruder, a specific volume
Ve of plastic will then be extruded — output by the
extruder. When the actual volume of plastic output, Va,
exceeds Ve, over-extrusion results; when Va is less than Ve,
under-extrusion results. There are a number of causes of
this mismatch, but it generally is the result of the input
filament diameter not matching what the slicer expected, or
the steps per mm for the extruder being incorrect. By first
calibrating your slicing profile as per Section 5.1.4 for each
type of plastic, and then always measuring your filament
diameter, you can prevent over and under-extrusion from
Print cooling fan
- Some plastics such as PLA take longer to
cool after extrusion. This can be significant when printing
small models for which there is insufficient time for a layer
to cool before the next layer is printed. Additional air flow
directed at the print can speed up cooling. For this reason,
some printers are equipped with a “print cooling fan”.
- To promote better
build plate adhesion or to accommodate an uneven build
surface, most slicers can add to your print a thick series of
layers which can later be removed once the print is finished.
These layers — referred to as a raft — are printed slowly
so as to promote better adhesion to the build plate as well
as to level out the printing surface.
- Early “do-it-yourself” 3D printers used DC
motors for extrusion. The desired rate of extrusion was
achieved by setting the “rotations per minute” (RPM) of
the motor. The gcode for this style of 3D printing is referred
to as “RPM gcode”. Cupcakes and early Thing-o-Matics
used DC motors for extrusion.
- S3G is an acronymn for “Sanguino3 Gcode” and is a 3D
printer control language. Files containing S3G use the file
extension .s3g. See Section 9.3 for further information.
- An SD card is specific type of memory flash card and
is used to convey print files to your printer without using a
USB or network connection. SD cards come in a variety of
sizes, ranging from a fraction of a gigabyte to upwards of
256 gigabytes or more. Sailfish supports SDSC (standard
capacity), SDHC (high capacity), and SDXC (extended
capacity) SD cards. The term “SD” is an acronym for
- When a model is prepared for printing by a slicer,
the slicer generates commands to print a solid exterior.
The exterior is typically printed by following the model’s
perimeter. The perimeter may be printed multiple times
per layer, each time inset from the prior pass. The final
result can be thought of as a series of nested shells, one
inside the other, from which arises the term “shell”. With
some slicers, you control the thickness of the solid exterior
by specifying the number of shells to generate.
- The process of turning a 3D model into printing
instructions — gcode — is referred to as “slicing”. That
name derives from the fact that the process takes slices
of the model and determines the necessary “tool paths”
(extruder paths) to print that slice. The slice is a “layer”
of the print. As the process is referred to as slicing, the
software which implements the process is often called a
- Most slicers have a mechanism whereby you
collect together a number of configuration settings used by
that slicer when preparing a model for printing. Such a
collection of settings is here referred to as a “slicing profile”.
A given slicer may use a different name (e.g., a “factory”
- A print defect caused by too thin of an exterior
shell through which interior printing penetrates leaving
visible surface blemishes.
- The “toolhead offset” is the physical spacing
between two extruder nozzles. See Section 4.2 for further
- When printing, there are two types of motions
or moves: an extrusion move in which extrusion of plastic
occurs, and a travel move in which motion occurs absent
extrusion. Travel moves serve to transfer the extruder to
another portion of the print, without printing any plastic.
- When the extruder outputs a deficit of
plastic, under-extrusion results. See over-extrusion.
Volumetric 5D gcode
- The use of DC motors and RPM gcode
was replaced by discrete stepper motors and “Volumetric
5D” gcode. Volumetric gcode sought to specify the volume
of plastic to be extruded rather than the “flowrate” of
plastic as controlled by a DC motor’s rotational speed.
Moreover, the new motion commands used five parameters:
four spatial parameters X, Y, Z, and E (extruder), and a
fifth speed parameter, feedrate. The use of five parameters
led to the name “5D”. The combination of these two
changes led to the name “Volumetric 5D”.
- X3G is an extended form of S3G containing accelerated
motion commands. Files containing X3G use the file
extension .x3g. See Section 9.3 for further information.