How to Make a 3D Printer Model

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Updated February 15, 2023

If you’re shopping for a premium printer and interested in top-end 3D printers, you may wonder how to create 3D models for a 3D printer. Printing enthusiasts use 3D design software before sending the model to a slicer program or directly to a 3D printer. Creating original 3D objects for the printing process can seem intimidating, but it isn’t too bad. So, keep reading to learn how to make a 3D printer model.


  • Users must design their 3D models in specialized software before they can go to a slicer program or a 3D printer.
  • Inside the modeling software, start with basic shapes before you apply aesthetic finishes to your 3D model.
  • Once it is finished, export the file to your 3D printer. Alternatively, you can refine the model inside a 3D printer slicer program.

How to Make a Model for 3D Printing

There is a wide range of 3D printing applications to make printable models. You can choose mechanical engineering CAD tools or even video game dev software. Regardless of which you choose, you can also learn how to program a 3D printer.

Insider Tip

Start with a basic 3D creation suite so you can move on to professional software as your 3D printing skills increase.

3D printing hobbyists that know how to make a 3D printer shouldn’t find slicer software too challenging. Creating a model for printing requires basic computer skills, and beginners can create basic geometric shapes within a couple of hours.

While you’ll need separate software for how to monitor a 3d printer remotely, tracking a 3D print layer-by-layer can help you spot 3D printing errors in progress.

STEP 1 Choose Your Software

  1. Picking the right software for 3D printing is critical for successful prints. There are multiple free tools like Ultimaker Cura and Tinkercad, and they are great for beginners.

STEP 2 Walk Through a Tutorial

  1. Find a basic overview of the 3D modeling tools in your chosen software. Some 3D modeling applications feature a tutorial for new users.
  2. Follow the tutorial or a brief video guide on basic navigation through the program.

STEP 3 Start a New Project

  1. Navigate to the software’s toolbar, and create a new project.
  2. Adjust the base units to suit your 3D print bed to ensure the model isn’t too big.
  3. After adjusting the properties, you should have a clean slate for your 3D printing idea.

STEP 4 Begin with Basic Shapes

  1. Start with a basic geometric design before moving on to complex shapes.
  2. For example, if you want to design a house, start with a cube and a square-based pyramid.
  3. Combine those shapes, and you have the basic form of your model.

STEP 5 Adjust the Details

  1. Following the example of designing a house, you can adjust the scale of the model, making it wider or longer.
  2. Start adding small details. For a small house model, you could add doors, windows, and texturing on the roof.
  3. If your 3D printer only supports lower-resolution prints, do not waste much time on minute details because they will not come out in the finished print.

STEP 6 Export the 3D Model

  1. Once you finish the model, you can export it to a slicer program.
  2. Navigate to the toolbar, and find the Export button.
  3. Pick your 3d printing file format (.stl, .obj, .vrml, etc.) and save it.
  4. Transfer the file to your 3D printer or a slicer software for further adjustments.


Keep your printer size in mind while using the 3D model creation software because you may make a model that’s too big for your printer.

STAT: A 2019 Global EY study showed that 76% of the worldwide automotive industry already applied or considered 3D printing technology for their businesses. (source)

How to Make 3D Printer Models FAQs

Are 3D printing courses worth it?

While paid courses are an option, there are a ton of free resources to reach your 3D printing goals. Picking a single course can simplify your research and help you prevent basic 3D printing issues.

Is 3D printing filament toxic?

Some 3D printer filaments are toxic, but only in specific cases. For example, PETG, ABS, and nylon filaments emit semi-toxic gasses while printing but are safe to handle in spools. In contrast, the uncured resin for resin printers is extremely toxic, and you should never handle them without gloves, goggles, and proper ventilation.

Is the 3D printing business profitable?

Depending on your business model and investment amount, a 3D printing business can be profitable. Several niches call for 3D prints like tabletop role-playing, tech, and cosplay accessories. So, there is plenty of opportunity to sell high-quality prints.
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