Introduction to 3D Printing: The Starter Kit

A 3D Printer - Things to Consider

  • Price of the Unit
  • Price of the Consumables (ex. Filament, Tape, Hairspray/Adhesive, and Utility Knives)
  • Ease of Repair
  • Quality and Availability of Tech Support
  • Quality and Availability of a Curriculum Repository
  • Do they include installation and Calibration

Filament - Things to consider

  • PLA or ABS (Others exist but these will be the most common options for the budget conscious schools)
  • Diameter: 1.75mm or 3.0 mm?  (Which does your selected printer take and Can you buy it locally?)
  • Colour?
  • Special properties (ex. Wood or bronze fill, flexible filament, transparent vs opaque, etc)
  • Buy at least 5kg (5 x 1kg spools; $29-45/ea; Try different qualities and colours)
  • Type of filament holder (Right you see a single spool holder and a wardrobe used as a multi-spool holder; Essential).

Adhesion Materials for Unheated Print Beds

  • 3M Scotch-Blue Painters Tape #2090 (Buy in bulk if possible)
  • Any cheap unscented hairspray with Extra Hold should work
  • 70-99% Isopropyl Alcohol (For cleaning your print bed)


  • Needle-nosed Pliers
  • Ruler or Digital Calipers
  • Utility Knife and additional blades (Either, pen or knife style)
  • Metal Palette Knives (Can be a great way to remove prints)
  • Plastic Scraper Card (For removing printed items or applying the tape)
  • Old Rags (For cleaning the print bed)

Software - Printing

  • Cura by Ultimaker (Very user-friendly with almost zero setup)
  • Repetier embedded with Slic3r (Advanced: Configuration settings or file is needed)

Software - Cad

Software - Mesh Fixing or Alteration

Cost (Canadian)

  • Printrbot Simple Metal = $700 (Add shipping and Duty; DIY Kit available for $400)
  • PLA Filament = $40/each x 5 (Add shipping if there is no local store)
  • Tape = $7/ea
  • Knife with Blades = $7/ea
  • Rubbing Alcohol = $13/ea
  • Software = Free (For the beginner)
  • Additional Tools = Optional $20-50
  • Total = $977 (Approximately, without shipping or duty)

My 3D Printing Starter Kit



DIY Project #1 : Mesh made in 123D Catch, edited in Netfabb, and printed using Cura

DIY Project #1: Mesh made in 123D Catch, edited in Netfabb, and printed using Cura

Workflow Tip: Cura is the easier to get going, but Repetier has better printing options (ex. Pause/Resume). Create the G-Code in Cura and Print using Repetier.