Printers

Meshmixer does not attempt to 3D print your model directly. Instead, we make it easy for you to send your model to third-party software to handle printing. However, we do maintain a list of common 3D printers for two purposes:

  1. So you can visualize the print volume while editing your model.
  2. So you can send your model to the correct printing software.

To render the printer volume, check Show Printer Bed in the View menu. This will display a wireframe box with the dimensions of the currently-selected printer's print volume. The printer selection widget lives in the upper-right hand corner of the Meshmixer window, and is also only visible when Show Printer Bed is checked.

Click the down arrow icon in the printer selection widget to show the list of available printers. Printers with known software are shown in bold, and printers that are editable are shown in italics.

When you select a printer that has known software associated with it, the Print button in the left menu bar becomes enabled. Clicking the Print button will enable you to send your model to the print software.

Adding printers

Clicking on Preferences in the drop-down list of printers will open the Preferences window to the Printers tab. Here you can view existing printers and add new ones. To add a new printer, you will need to enter its manufacturer and model name, as well as its dimensions. You can also choose which software package (see below) should be used for the printer. Note that you cannot edit the properties of the printers that come with Meshmixer, but you can reassign the print software they use.

From the Printers Preferences window you can also edit the set of printers that you've added yourself. We include a fictional example of a user-created printer (Custom SuperPrinter 5000) so you can see how this works.

Adding custom print software

Clicking on the Software tab in the Preferences panel will bring up the list of available printer software. Meshmixer knows about a few software packages by default -- they are shown in italics and are not editable. You can add and edit your own custom software as well. Clicking Add or Edit will bring up a Software Properties window where you can customize how your third-party software is used. It has the following fields:

Software name: the software name that will be shown in the print UI.

Executable full path: the full path and executable file of your print software.

Filetype: when we export your model to be read by this software, which file format we should export (optional, defaults to STL).

Arguments: command-line arguments to pass to the software. 

When you click the Print button and select a printing software package, Meshmixer will export a temporary mesh file to your hard drive, then call the print software with that file's path as an argument.

The full command we will call is: $Path $Arguments $File. For example:

> \Applications\MyPrinter.exe --slice-height 0.5 \temp\tempmesh.stl

This means that your print software must be capable of accepting a mesh file from the command line. Notably, Makerbot Print does not have this capability, which is why we use the older Makerbot Desktop application by default for Makerbot printers.