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Here’s a certificate of achievement that you can use for the kids who complete the project at your school. We had two titles: The kids who were in the club were awarded “3D Printer Maker” certificates, and those that helped out a lot (usually younger siblings) were awarded “”3D Printer Apprentice” certificates. The text of the certificate is shown below the image.

Download the SVG file here: 3D Printer Club: Lesson Plans and Other Documents

3D Printer Club Certificate of Achievement

3D Printer Club Certificate of Achievement

The border features the typical honeycomb-style infill pattern that 3D prints often use.

Here’s the text of the certificate:

Let it be known that on this twenty-fourth day of May, two thousand and thirteen,

Student Name

is hereby honored and recognized for outstanding achievement as part of an awesome team of awesome kids who built a fully functional 3D printer—from scratch, having learned tons and tons of cool stuff along the way, including blogging, accounting, sourcing, assembly, robotics, electronics, management, teamwork, and a bunch of other awesome things too numerous to list. This exceedingly rare and highly coveted document therefore confers upon the aforementioned Maker, the esteemed, hard-earned, and frankly just awesome title of

3D Printer Maker

with all the rights, privileges, and honors appertaining thereunto.

In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to set up a PCB heatbed for your 3D printer — a method that allows the entire surface of the heatbed to be used for printing. He also shows how to cut inexpensive certificate frame glass to size with some simple tools. We’ve had printers with a heatbed setup just like this running without incident for over a year.

Supplies used: PCB Heatbed (with high-temperature wire attached), glass (same size as heatbed), scissors, kapton tape, four M3 nuts and screws (12-16mm), screwdriver & pliers, thermistor, thermistor lead insulation (kapton tape works, too), and pipe insulation tape. See below for glass cutting tools.

Glass Cutting Tools & Materials: Safety glasses, sheet glass (certificate frame glass works well), glass cleaner, paper towels, permanent marker, ruler, cutting oil, straight edge, glass cutting tool, breaking edge, leather gloves, and sandpaper.

A project-based RepRap build is the perfect way to bring STEM and many other disciplines to your school. To learn more about starting a 3D printer build at your school, visit



Here’s a video to the team from software developer and RepRap expert Alessandro Ranellucci, the creator of the extremely popular Slic3r software.

Random wires are ugly, so we decided to ask for some spare spiral binding coil at the local office supply store and walked away with a handful of 6mm and 10mm coils. They make for very nice wire wrap.

Spiral Binding Coil Wire WrapSpiral Binding Coil Wire Wrap

Spiral Binding Coil Wire Wrap

We made a video to show the difference in noise between the Pololu A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier, which has 1/16 steps, and the DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier which has 1/32 steps. These drivers are common in RepRap 3D printers. The resistor soldered onto the DRV8825 is not required on their latest versions of the board.

The goal for this video was originally to capture the difference in sound that I noticed when I switched from one driver to the other, and this test seemed to do that. I updated it to be a bit more scientific than it was originally by carefully setting the current limit, adjusting the steps per unit, and including details about the setup.

For this test:

  • 12.17V DC 
  • Kysan 1124090 (1.8°, 1.5A/phase) stepper motor
  • 18T Aluminum GT2 2mm Belt/Pulley
  • PLA bushings on W1 tool steel smooth rod with white lithium grease
  • 1.3A current limit using VREF method

We met with Congressman Price and several other US representatives to promote open hardware 3D printing — and how they fit into STEM education in particular.

CongressmanPricePhoto_sm Congressman Foster

We got an older laptop to use for one of our 3D printer builds, and so we set out to set it up for 3D printing. The laptop is an IBM ThinkPad T41, and because the processor doesn’t support PAE, we weren’t able to use the latest versions or Ubuntu or Mint. Mint 13 installed okay, but the default window managers gave us some trouble, so we ended up installing Lubuntu 12.04. This version doesn’t require PAE.

After installing and updating the operating system, we set out to install pronterface (Printrun) and slic3r from the git repository. Here’s what we did:

First install python support for printrun, and git.

sudo apt-get install python-serial python-wxgtk2.8 \
 python-pyglet python-tk
sudo apt-get install git

Create a directory for RepRap stuff, and clone Printrun to it from the git repository.

mkdir RepRap
cd RepRap/
git clone

Next comes build-essential, perl, and cpanminus — all required for slic3r.

sudo apt-get install build-essential libgtk2.0-dev \
 libwxgtk2.8-dev libwx-perl libmodule-build-perl \
sudo apt-get install cpanminus

Go into the Printrun directory, get slic3r, and then dive into that directory where we’ll test it to be sure it all works.

cd Printrun/
git clone
cd Slic3r/

Grab the cpan modules required for slic3r, and test it to be sure it loads up properly.

sudo cpanm Boost::Geometry::Utils Math::Clipper \
 Math::ConvexHull Math::ConvexHull::MonotoneChain \
 Math::Geometry::Voronoi Math::PlanePath Moo Wx

Step up one directory and make sure pronterface works well.

cd ..
python ./

In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to make very simple and inexpensive (yet dependable) bare wire end stops for your 3D printer (or other motion control project). This design helps to “demystify the box” by putting all of the switch mechanics in plain view, making it very easy to understand. We’ve had a printer with end stops just like these running without incident for over a year.

Our original “One-Penny Bare Wire End Stop” can be found here, but you can see from the video that we’ve changed the way we do it slightly:

Supplies used: Old network cable, paper clip, end stop holder, electrical tape, solder, and about 2 cm of solid copper wire. Tools used: Wire strippers, small triangular file, needle-nose pliers (with wire cutter), ruler, soldering iron or gun, and scissors.

Music: “Crosstalk (Take 3)” by Javolenus, 2013 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0),


We went to the Midwest RepRap Festival (MRRF) in March, and Jacob interviewed some experts to learn more about the event, the RepRap project, 3D printing and its future. This video includes a great overview of a delta bot 3D printer, which is pretty new on the RepRap scene.

Interviews include Johnny Russell (johnnyr) of, Josef Prusa (josefprusa) of, Ryan Turner (ryan_turner) of, and Sonny Mounicou (os1r1s) of

Music: “December Nights” by cdk, 2011 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)


This is an SVG file of a Sanguinololu electronics circuit board for 3D printers, and it will likely be helpful if you’re  trying to layout a mounting board for your electronics that includes the Sanguinololu and other components. The drawing includes extra space required by connectors or wires that are plugged into it, and the holes have cross-hairs so you can tape it onto a board and easily drill it. (Right-click and Save As to download the SVG. In you need an SVG editor, check out Inkscape—it’s fantastic and free.)


Note that there’s extra space for the USB cable because it tends to be a beefier cable.

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