Here I will list information as I acquire it on different software and websites to help design and use your printer. I have different kinds of software downloaded, but haven’t had time to try them all out yet. One future resource (Trnio) I’ll discuss allows photography of real-life objects and builds a 3D model around them.
Please feel free to email me if you would like any help or have questions.
Tinkercad.com: Free in-browser website for designing or modifying 3D files. This is based upon using shapes to connect them together or cut shape holes into objects. No downloads and very low skill requirements! My #1 suggestion thus far.
Check out my Feb 26 blog post detailing my first significant experience with TinkerCAD’s power and ease of use!
Sites to Download
Thingiverse.com: This is a free database of already-designed 3D files that can be downloaded and printed. I’ve had great success with them and they mark questionable content as NSFW, which you have to turn the filter off yourself to access.
Terrain2STL offers downloads of topographic maps, which can be edited and printed. As a caution, keep the “Box Size” at 1080 maximum or the files will be too big for most computers to process with the printer’s software.
If you print with ABS plastic and feel comfortable taking some risks to smooth out your prints here is a demonstration using Acetone. CAUTION: I’ve seen on other sites that this can be dangerous. Do not let patrons & students attempt this and it might be better to try off school/public property. Flammability seems to be the only significant risk I have read about thus far. Educate yourself and proceed at your own risk.