CE 432 Robotics II Fall 2021
3D Printing Workshop
Sean Eaton

3D Printing Workshop


For this assignment we were tasked with learning the 3D printing process so that we will be able to print the necessary components for a future assignment. After Noah presented a brief overview of the process we then followed his tutorial which covered using Solidworks and creating the 3D model of the part. Then, using Cura, the necessary G-code was generated and placed onto a micro SD card. The Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2 was then used to finally print the part. The final printed part is then able to be used to as part of the Two-Wheel Balancing Car project later in the semester. The purpose of this part is to hold an Arduino Uno securely on top of the self balancing car.

Task 1: Using Solidworks

In task 1 it was necessary to install Solidworks first which can be done using the Fort Lewis SkySoft webpage. After installing Solidworks a new part was created using millimeters as the units.
Next the sketch tab was used to create a rectangle with the x dimension being set to 16 mm and the y dimension being set to 14 mm. A circle was then placed in the center of the rectangle with a radius of 3 mm. This shape was then extruded to make the main shape of this part. Following this more portions of the shape were extruded to end up with the final model of the part shown below in Figure 1. The longer rectangle near the bottom scretches across the whole main block and is 4 mm tall. The next smaller extrusion is 3 mm wide and the extruded cylinder is 6 mm tall.

Figure 1. Screenshot of the final model of the part created in Solidworks.

Task 2: Using Cura

After creating the part's model in Solidworks the file was saved as an STL file. The next step was to download the Ultimaker Cura software. The Cura software is able to generate G-code which is basically a set of instructions so that 3D printers can understand how to print the actual part. When starting up the Cura software you are required to specify the 3D printer you are using. The 3D printer available in the Robotics II lab was the Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2. The closest option in Cura I found was the Monoprice Select Mini v2 which was compatible with the Monoprice printer in the lab.
The STL file was opened in Ultimaker Cura where the part was able to be rotated and moved so that it would be printed in the front left corner of the printing bed. After positioning where the part will be printed it can then be "sliced" which returns a G-code file that can be saved.

Figure 2. Screenshot of the Ultimaker Cura software used to generate G-code for the 3D printer.

Task 3: Printing the Part

After saving the G-code file to a micro SD card, it was then inserted into the 3D printer and the file was selected to print. Prior to this the printer bed was cleaned up and some adhesive from a glue stick was applied to the printing area. A picture of the completely printed part is shown below in Figure 3. A clearer picture of the part can be seen below in Figure 4 after removing the part from the printer bed.

Figure 3. The completed 3D printed part on the print bed.

Figure 4. A closer look at the completed 3D print.

After removing the part from the printer bed I removed some of the excess material that can be seen in Figure 4 above. I compared the completed part to the part currently on the self-balancing car in the lab. From observation my part looks to be pretty much identical to reference part which is great to see.

Figure 5. Comparing my part to the reference part on the self-balancing car.


I enjoyed this assignment a lot since I have always been interested in 3D printing since I learned about the technology many years ago. I wasn't sure how to start and I appreciated Noah's tutorial on the process since it was so straightforward and simple. I had no experience using Solidworks prior to this assignment and while it was frustrating at times I am looking forward to experimenting with the software more. The main issues I had were figuring out how to sketch on various parts of the model and editing the parameters since they were minimally labelled. After completing the Solidworks portion of the assignment it was very straightforward getting the G-code file on the printer and getting the print process started. I am looking forward to using this technology more and I wish I knew how to go about this process a lot sooner than now.