From rLab Wiki

Some of the tools at the Hackspace are potentially hazardous to use, for these tools members are required to have an induction before they can use them. Inductions provide the most basic information on how to safely and effectively use the simpler functions of the tools, we appreciate that some members may have professional experience on some of these tools and in this case please tell your induction provider and the induction may be very reduced and just cover any risks or procedures specific to rLab. Some tools have multiple levels of induction in order to cover more advanced uses of that tool without making the basic induction take too long, higher induction levels will introduce some of the more advanced features of the tools but as with all inductions are only intended to provide basic information on the capabilities of the tools and how to use them safely. Some members of rLab may be willing to offer more detailed tuition beyond basic induction level or offer guided practice sessions in exchange for beer money or assistance on their own projects.

For all tools you are only required to take level-1 induction before use, after that you may perform any task that you feel confident you can do safely, higher levels of induction may be useful to you in performing more advanced operations but are not required before doing tasks covered in them so long as you're confident of your ability to handle those tasks without risk to yourself, others, or the tool.

PLEASE NOTE : All induction providers are volunteers who are providing inductions to the best of their ability but are NOT qualified instructors. Inductions are provided on a best-effort basis but you and you alone are responsible for your safety while using the tools and for satisfying yourself that you can operate the tools safely. There are professional training courses available from various providers in Reading and the surrounding area if you feel they are appropriate for the level of work you intend to undertake. Reading these notes is NOT a substitute for an in-person induction.

Note for wiki editors : Please do not edit induction pages unless you are one of of the people that gives that induction


The Ultimaker is a FDM / FFF 3d printer. We have two of them which are typically set up with different nozzle sizes (but always check). A variety of thermoplastic materials can be used.

For the induction we will suggest/provide a suitable 3D model but the induction will touch on how to obtain or create 3D models.

Topic Detailed contents Rationale
Capabilities and limitations
  • Maximum printing volume
    • Trade offs that occur between size of object and printing time
  • Resolution / layer height
    • Trade offs between resolution and print time
  • Heaters / temperatures
  • Overhangs
    • Maximum angles
  • Indirect drive system for filament
    • What types of filament can and cannot be used.
Description of what the tool can and cannot safely do.
  • Bed
  • X,Y,Z axes
  • Filament, extruder, hot-end, bowden-tube
Common terms that you need to know
Overview of process
  • Modelling STL file
    • Common software in use at lab - Fusion360, OpenSCAD, Meshmixer, Sculptress
    • We won't cover how to make files but there are members who can help you with these packages
    • When designing you have to consider how it will be printed, good design can save many hours of print time
  • Slicing in Cura
  • Copying gcode to media
  • Power on
  • Inserting appropriate filament, filament settings
    • Ultimaker's filament settings over-ride Cura's
  • Starting print
  • Monitoring print
  • Materials costs, how to calculate how much material is likely to be used, how to pay for Rlab materials
  • Handling failures, types of failure
  • Remove print, cleanup, recycling PLA etc
Basic process of 3D printing and topics that won't be covered in more detail later
Slicing in Cura
  • There are so many settings, we don't cover many, only the ones required to make the print work
  • Most important: Nozzle size - if it's wrong then massive under/overextrusion happens. Our printers often have different size nozzles, so decide which you want, and make sure it's set correctly.
  • Orientation of workpiece on the print bed - if there is a flat side, you probably want it on the bed. Also check for overhangs and bridging etc, if part cannot be printed in any orientation without support material, enable support material.
  • Layer height
  • Walls, Top&Bottom
  • Infill
  • Support material - if required, or not.
  • Bed adhesion settings
  • Estimated filament weight (to calculate payment if using Rlab material) and print time (for scheduling)
  • Saving file to removable media
Correct slicing will make the difference between a nice print and a waste of 10's of hours and hundreds of gramms
Setting up
  • Power on
  • Check machine is not out of order
  • Check enough filament
  • Change filament if necessary
  • Gluing the bed if necessary
  • Start print
Process to get a print going
  • Check filament is extruding
  • Check first layer adhesion, etc
  • Occasionally monitor subsequent printing
  • If leaving unattended, write a note for subsequent users. Someone else might arrive and remove a finished print (or a failed print).
  • Pay for materials, Price per gram as marked on filament, 50p minimum charge, 50p if using own filament
Checks to make before you walk off and leave the printer
  • Removing thing from bed
  • Removing support material, recycling PLA
  • Cleaning machine and bed
Leaving it in a good state for others