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Komodo is our line of tools, we build CNC routers/mills, 3D Printers, Diode Laser Cutters and Vacuum Forming tools. The CNC router has a 16″x36″ bed which is great for the model builder, handling long balsa sheets along with most sizes of hobby plywood. Our 3D Former has a 11 1/2 ” x 19 sheet size with all aluminum construction. The combination of the high quality E3D direct extruder and all aluminum frame allows our 3D Printer to produce high quality prints at lightening speeds.

Machine threads are one of the most common components used for fastening parts in an assembly or attaching your part to another substrate. Here are a couple ways to incorporate screw threads into your 3D Printed ABS or PLA parts.
Threads directly from your 3D Printer-
The pitch and helical profile is critical for incorporating threads into a 3D part. Typically, large pitched threads, like ones on hex head bolts found at your local hardware store work well for prototyping or fit testing as long as the forces are relatively low.
Nut Traps-
Another option is to use a “nut trap”, a hexagonal hole that you put a nut into on the other side. They are tricky to get the right size, but very satisfying when you get it right. They stay in place, and very strong as long as they are not torqued down too hard. Some slicing software will allow you to pause the print, insert a nut then continue printing the remainder of the part.
Tapping a printed hole-
Threads can be created by tapping a hole, either directly into a hole with an area filled solid around the hole for support, or into a designated fill area made for drilling.  Bulking up the drilling area is recommended so threads will hold together better throughout the layers. ABS is a bit soft for machine screw tapping, PLA is probably better but may be a bit brittle for self-tappers and need a bigger pilot hole.
Threaded Inserts-
In the photo below I show a few different varieties of threaded inserts. Blind Nuts are used with soft material such as wood and the screw enters from the opposite side, when tightened it pulls the nut up against the material. Nut Inserts are often threaded into holes and the screw enters from the same side. When shopping for threaded inserts, you will find a few different varieties, they are inexpensive and most work well. Nut Inserts are easy to install and work well for tensile loads. They can withstand some torsional loads, but tend to spin out at high torsional stresses. These work well when you want to be able remove and replace the screw, otherwise self-tappers are good for one off insertion and they work fine in printed parts.
Print the part you want with a suitable sized hole. Place the insert on top of the hole and then use a hot soldering iron to push it in.
Retro Nut Press-
There are a couple different ways to press your nuts into your plastic parts. Using a pencil soldering iron works well, but found that there was a lack of control.
Thinking about some kind of simple press, I remembered an old Dremel Drill Press that I had stuck up in the rafters. Being a vintage item, I didn’t want to hack it up, so I designed a clamp that replaced the body of the Dremel and held a pencil soldering iron. Brass is easily machined allowing me to make a couple adapters for different size inserts.
The old press ended up working out well, you can set the stops for precise depth on repeated parts. Once the iron is hot it takes seconds to heat the insert and press it in. With this particular press, the table moves up and down and the head/iron is fixed.

Everything you need to know about your 3D Printer

3D Modeling is the essence of 3D Printing, along with many other technical applications. Selecting a simple design program like SketchUp, along with the STL Exporter plugin, will introduce one to a career in 3D modeling. Many times a student can work on designing a 3D model and start printing in less than 60 minutes. Models that look great in a 3D modeling program, such as SketchUp, do not always print as expected. A good slicing program allows the student to view the model layer by layer, seeing the mistakes will help reduce the time it takes to transition from 3D modeling to 3D printing. With the proper tools students will quickly get up to speed and once they have a finished project in their hands…they are hooked.

To understand the world of 3D Printing, you will need to become familiar with the following terms and abbreviations used in the industry- 3D Printing Glossary of Terms


Below are some critical steps that will allow one to become a designer, an operator and also the ability to bring a project to market.

Understanding Your Printer

Software and machine operation is the key to creating great prints. First, you need to know a few things about your printer; the filament diameter, bed volume (HxWxD), the number of extruders and if it has a heated bed. This information will need to be entered into your slicing program. Having a good slicing program and knowing how to use it will make your printing experience much easier. This set of tutorials will take you from setting up the bed for printing to choosing your slicer.


Tutorial 1a

Tutorial 2a

Tutorial 3a

Tutorial 4a

Tutorial 5a

Tutorial 6a




Once you are familiar with your 3D Printer, you’re ready for your first print. Downloading files from the Internet is a great resource for models. There are a handful of sites that allow you to download quality models, this is a great way to get instant satisfaction and keep the student interested.


Tutorial 1b

Tutorial 2b

Tutorial 3b

Tutorial 4b

Tutorial 5b

Tutorial 6b





Once a 3D model is created and imported into your slicer, you will have two options for output. Either connect up to your printer and send it off via a USB cable or output the code to your hard drive. The code that is output is called G-Code, the file format is ASCII and is viewable in a word processor or notepad. In this section you will start to understand what each line means and how to modify your code to customize your print.

Tutorial 1c

Tutorial 2c




Once the student has the understanding of a 3D Printer and can successfully print a model, the next step is to learn a 3D modeling program.


SketchUp is an easy-to-use software that lets you sketch and draw simple shapes and push or pull the surfaces to turn them into 3D forms.


With Tinkercad you can quickly turn your idea into a CAD model for a 3D printer.


If you’ve had a bit of experience with CAD then FreeCad could be good for you. If not, you may find it a bit complicated. The site claims no previous CAD experience is necessary but compared to TinkerCAD, AutoDesk 123D and SketchUp it is fairly more complex.

Netfabb Basic – www.netfabb.com

Netfabb Basic is free and can handle a lot of file formats. Netfab offers a suite of programs with the basic version doing most of what a 3D printer operator needs.

Autodesk Meshmixerwww.meshmixer.com

Meshmixer is a free tool for making crazy 3D stuff without too much hassle.


Tutorial 1d

Tutorial 2d

Tutorial 3d

Tutorial 4d

Tutorial 5d

Tutorial 6d



This section is designed to take you from a conceptual design through the completed project…


Tutorial 1e

Tutorial 2e

Tutorial 3e

Tutorial 4e

Tutorial 5e

Tutorial 6e

Bed Preparation

Heated beds-If you are printing with ABS you will need a heated bed. Some printers come without a heated bed, the suggested filament for non-heated beds would be PLA.

Bed leveling- This can be a task and should be checked often. Below is an image showing the sequence for leveling your bed. This diagram shows a 4-Screw leveling system, some manufactures use a 3-Screw leveling system.


1> Home your “Z” axis

2> Heat the nozzle to be aligned, this will remove any residue giving an accurate measurement.

3> Manually bring the bad and carriage to point “1”, using a feeler gauge at 0.005, adjust the bed so that there is a bit of friction on the gauge.

4> Proceed with locations 2, 3 & 4 with the pattern shown in the image.

5> Repeat steps #3 and #4 above.

This completes the leveling process.

Adhesion- If you are using lacquer style release (AquaNet hairspray) after 4-5 prints, you will need to scrape the glass to cleanup the buildup. If you are using different filaments and you need to adjust your first layer for adhesion.

Setting Temps

Getting your filament to flow properly can be a challenge. If the temp is too high you will blobs on your walls and the layers will not be defined. When the temp of the filament is too cold the walls will be weak and you will see gaps in the layers.

Testing your filament temp is an easy task-

1> Using the control panel of your slice engine, raise the Z axis off the deck 25-50mm.

2> Being the filament up to temperature, PLA approx 190-200 degrees and ABS to about 225 degrees.

3> From the control panes, use the Extruder feed and advance the filament until you see the nozzle oozing.

Result: For the optimal temp setting, you want the filament to stream out and curl up on the bed. If the filament want to climb up and attache itself to the nozzle it is too hot. If you see uneven thickness and it looks a bit fuzzy (dry) the filament is too cool. Depending on the outcome, raise the temp up or down at 5 degree increments waiting for the nozzle to settle in at the new temp and retest. Once you get the proper flow, this will be the setting you enter into your slicer.

Choosing a Slicer

Here is a list of programs that are widely used in the community.


Cura is a freely-available program for slicing models to G-Code format. It’s optimized for the Ultimaker 3D printer, but it works fine with any printer based on the RepRap model – and that includes just about all the ones that squirt molten plastic. Cura is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.


MatterControl is a free, Open Source app that lets you organize and manage your 3D prints. It’s designed to help you get the most out of your 3D printer – making it easy to track, preview, and print your 3D parts.


Simplify3D is your all-in-one 3D printing software. No need for multiple applications and endless hours of configuration. But is does come with a fee, the cost is $140.00 per license.