Bonnie Eisenman bio photo

Bonnie Eisenman

Software engineer, author, knitter, Esperantist. Member of NYC Resistor and author of Learning React Native.

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For some reason I had never used a 3D printer before. I rectified that at NYC Resistor tonight with our rep5 and took some notes from the quick introduction I was given.

Designs / file notes

  • How do you design your own .stl files? Left as an exercise for another night!

  • Grab other people’s designs off of Thingiverse! i.e., here’s the Bulbasaur planter.

  • The raft is the thick base layer, helps stabilize the print

  • The infill is the %age of solid space which is filled

  • The number of shells = layers of plastic on the outer layer

  • The layer height is the resolution /dpi equivalent

  • “Supports” are the things which let you print overhangs, you snap them off later.

Prepping your print

  • You can preview the print and view how each layer will be printed, which is cool especially if you’re looking at someone else’s design. This also gives you a time estimate, but the estimates can be inaccurate.


  • If it fails, cancel the print early. “Failure” here means that you’re watching the printer and notice something is borked.

  • PLA is hydrophilic, so it absorbs water if you leave it out. This can cause shitty prints (notably, a rougher texture and poor resolution).

  • You don’t have to babysit the printer.

After the print

  • Break off the raft, if any

  • Clean off the printer bed