3D Printing

The NExT Lab charges a small fee to cover the cost of materials.

Submit your print

What is 3D printing?

3d digital Model
Create 3D Model
Prepare Model for Print
Send to Printer
Send to Printer

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.The object is created using an additive process where successive layers of material are laid down until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

The NExT Lab provides access to a print farm of 32 Makerbot 3D printers. All 32 printers are controlled and managed by the Makerbot Innovation Centre software. Simply upload your file to the cloud and the NExT Lab technicians will take care of the rest. The 3D printing facilities are ideal for design exploration models and prototypes. With some light post production prints can reach exhibition quality.

Our 3D printers


The all new Makerbot Replicator + is engineered and extensively tested for reliable, faster 3D printing. It is the perfect tool for you to quickly and cheaply test and bring new ideas to life.

  • Print Material: PLA Plastic in a range of colours
  • Print Area: 295mm L x 195mm W x 165mm H

More Information

Replicator Z18

  • The Makerbot Z18 provides extra-large printing area allowing the creation of extra- ultra-tall concept models and prototypes. Allowing you to think and build bigger than ever at an affordable price.
  • Print Material: PLA Plastic in a range of colours
  • Print Area: 300mm L x 305mm W x 457mm H

More information

Why use 3D printing?

3D printing enables you to produce functional complex shapes cheaply and without needing a detailed understanding of manufacturing. 3D Printers can use a wide range of materials and processes to create objects with different qualities and characteristics.

The NExT Lab 3D printers use a technology called Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM. It uses an extruder, which acts similar to a hot glue gun, to melt plastic filament at 215℃, and finally is “extruded” out of a small nozzle into the layers that build a 3D print. You can use these 3d printers to create a huge variety of objects, such as prototype parts for inventions, scale models for architecture or a house hold item to improve your home.


The NExT Lab offers a range of training to help you learn how to create a 3d printable file, prepare it for printing and submit it to the print farm. This training includes:

  1. Training Centre

    Video tutorials and guides to help you understand and use the tech in the FabLab and MSD Maker Spaces are provided at the online Training Centre. Each process is broken down into bite-sized steps. Follow all the guides for a broad overview, or get help with a particular step. The catalogue will be continue to grow, so keep an eye out for new content.

    Training Centre

  2. Introductory Session

    At the beginning of semester a range introductory sessions are scheduled in NExT Lab. Come along and learn about the fundamentals, such as how to setup and prepare laser cutting files, software basics and how to submit a 3D print. No previous experience required.

    Book Session

  3. Expansion Session

    If you want to learn advanced techniques and processes to extend the possibilities of each technology, these are the sessions for you. Each week a range of sessions will be scheduled - each focusing on a particular technique or skill. You can come to one session or all to get a detailed understanding of the tech. For a full list of sessions, check the events page.

    Book Session

  4. Consultation

    Book a consultation with the NExT Lab's experienced staff to get help with complex technical challenges specific to your project. Before making a booking, it is expected that you have completed the Introductory and Expansion sessions and attempted to resolve the problem independently.

    Book Consultation

For a full explanation of the training available visit the Training Page.


Everyone is welcome to submit a job to be printed at the NExT Lab 3D print farm. If you are new to the NExT Lab simply follow the instructions below to submit a job. If you are an old hand at 3D Printing through the NExT Lab simply submit a job.

Submit your print

How to submit

You can submit a 3D print job at any time, day or night, and it will be processed by NExT Lab staff during open hours on week days.

To print on the NExT Lab 3D Print Farm, you must create a 3D file, prepare it in MakerBot Print, and send it to your MakerBot Innovation Centre.

  1. Create a 3D file

    In order to 3D print, you must have a 3D file. Here are a few ways to get a file:

    1. Find a file online from websites like thingiverse.com
    2. Design an object to print in a 3D modelling or CAD program
    3. Scan an existing object with a 3D scanner.

    For help creating your 3D file please visit the Training Center.

  2. Prepare your model for print

    Before sending a 3D file to your NExT Lab 3D Print Farm, you must prepare the file for 3D printing. This includes checking the size and thickness of the object is possible to print as well as inputting any specific print settings you may require.

    • This will require you to setup your file in Makerbot Print, the dedicated software to prepare and send files to Makerbot 3d printers. Download Makerbot Print
    • Download the NExT MakerBot settings below and import them into your 'custom settings'.
    • Preparing your 3D file for a successful print can be easy if you follow the tutorials in the Training Center.
    • Try the cost calculator to estimate the cost of your print before submitting.

    Download Makerbot PrintDownload Custom Settings

  3. Submit to MakerBot Innovation Centre

    Before you submit your print to the NExT Lab Makerbot Innovation Centre, make sure that your Print Request & .makerbot file adhere to the following format:

    Innovation Center Platform

    PROJECT NAME: (student number)_(hours of printing TOTAL)_(Rep+/Z18 printer)_filename

    Eg.          123456_24hr_Rep+_NewFile

    Uploaded .makerbot File

    (hours of printing FOR FILE)_1of(total number of files in project)_filename.makerbot

    Eg.          4hr_1of2_NewFile.makerbot


    If you are unsure please ask the NExT Lab staff or risk having you print being cancelled.

    When you are confident your model has been setup in accordance with NExT Lab requirements you can submit it to the NExT Lab Makerbot Innovation Centre, simply click the button below.

    Submit your print

  4. Collect from NExT Lab

    You will be notified by email when your job is complete. Please come to the NExT Lab during opening hours to pay for and collect your print.

  5. Post production

    To further enhance your project there are many post production techniques found in on the Makerbot website that you can use to improve the quality of your print.


The cost of a 3d print using the Makerbots is calculated by the amount, or weight, of plastic that is used to print the object. This includes the amount needed for the raft and support structures for the print to complete successfully.

To calculate the cost, simply upload your file to be printed to Makerbot Print Software and prepare it for printing using the setting you require. For more information on how to setup your print please refer to our Training Centre. Once your file is setup, the software will calculate the weight of the 3d print in grams. Now input this weight in grams into our cost calculator below and this will estimate your print costs.

Cost calculator


To make it as easy as possible for you to get a 3d print underway we have collated below download links to key resources needed to get started.

Makerbot Print

Frequently asked questions

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a general term that describes the process of creating a physical model from a 3D digital model using a 3D printer. There are many types of 3D printers that are able to create the digital model, the common two at the MSD are MakerBots that use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Projet that uses Binder Jetting (BJ), the NExT Lab has only Makerbots.

What materials can I 3D print with at the NEXT lab?

Makerbots have the capacity to print a variety of different materials however the MakerBots at NExT Lab are optimised to print PLA which is loaded into all the printers within the NExT Lab. For alternative printing methods check the FabLab page.

How long does a 3D print take?

The printing times can greatly vary depending on the size and complexity of the print. Times can range from a couple of minutes to up to over 36 hours, so to find out a time estimate of your print you should consult with the NExT Lab staff. Students should also take into consideration, the preparation time of the file before printing. If a 3D model has errors it can take considerable time to find the errors and correct them.

How much does a 3D print cost?

The cost of printing a 3D model at NExT Lab is calculated by the weight of the filament used, at a rate of $X.XX per gram. Students are able to get a cost estimate of their print by uploading the model to the makerbot print software.

How do I make a 3D print file?

To be able to make a 3D print file, students must have a 3D digital model which is then converted to Makerbot Print file. 3D digital models can be made from a range of modeling software including but not limited to: Rhino 3d or 3ds Max. The file will then need to be converted to a makerbot print file that can be downloaded from the downloads section of this page.

What can 3D prints be used for?

3D prints can be used for a variety of functions from showing final design concept or form to being used for small components used in a fabrication machine.

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