I'm still new to 3D printing and I want to print something. I expect that I'll mess it up since I find nothing to adjust it but it is now laying around for 4 months and I'm sick of it.

So my question is where do I find Windows software to print something and of course where do I get a 3D model?

I own a Geeetech i3 Pro W.


First; find a model!

To print something you require a model (usually this is in STL format, look into websites called Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory for examples). Once you have a model file, you need to make it readable for the printer firmware.

If you can't find suitable model, then you need to design a model yourself (or ask someone to do it for you) or adjust an existing model to suit your needs. "Good (preferably free) Beginner Software for Part Creation?" is a good place to start.

Second; use slicer software

For a printer to be able to print the model, the model needs to be sliced into layers. These layers need to be printed at specific speeds, temperatures, etc. Search online and look at the filament packaging (usually the ideal temperatures are on the packaging) to find the ideal temperature for your filament. If you are not using the right temperatures, your print will most likely fail. Programs that are able to slice models are called slicers. The most popular free (and Windows compatible) slicers are Ultimaker Cura and Slic3r (or its Prusa distribution).

The slicer produces a printer readable file called a G-code file (file filled with printer instructions for e.g. movement and heating). This G-code file can be sent to the printer using specific printer software (e.g. OctoPrint, Repetier-Host, etc.) but more common or simple is to put the G-code file on an SD card and print the file using the print menu on the printer LCD.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Got my first print. Yey :-D $\endgroup$
    – rekire
    Apr 27 '19 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @rekire Congrats! As you print simple models and fail at more complex ones, you will soon learn about settings that make prints better and easier in the slicer. One of the most common ones is activating support material. Don't worry about a bad print or two. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Apr 28 '19 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ @rekire Once you are comfortable with your slicer, look for a CAD design program to make your own models. The learning curves can be rather steep, but once you manage, you can manage to all out. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Apr 28 '19 at 8:15

If you're just starting out then Tinkercad (website) is a good place to start designing your own objects. Later you can get to grips with OpenScad for more complex shapes. Both are free.

  • $\begingroup$ The models generated with those programs are however not yet printable - you forget to mention slicing! $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Apr 27 '19 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused, TinkerCad produces stl files same as OpenScad etc. What files can't be printed from TinkerCad? $\endgroup$
    – Pommie
    Apr 29 '19 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ You don't print STL but the gcode made by the slicer. STL is the model, gcode the print instructions. While you can use the models provided by pages like thingieverse, you need to slice them for your machine, which your answer fails to mention. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Apr 29 '19 at 12:46

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