|Our MakerBot Replicator 2 is optimized for PLA filament use. PLA stands for Polylactic acid, a bioplastic derived from corn. PLA is a hard, strong material with a low rate of thermal expansion.
The other filament commonly used by MakerBot printers is ABS. ABS is short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is tough and somewhat flexible; and expands as it is heated and shrinks as it cools.
It is important to buy the right filament specifically designed for 3D printing, because it needs to be very consistent in diameter. Otherwise, it can result in poor print quality, with some sections too thin and some too thick.
Number of Shells refers to the thickness of the exposed outermost layers of the printer model. 2 shells is the normal. Increasing the number of shells creates thicker and stronger walls, but also longer print times.
Infill Density defines the amount of internal support structure inside the 3D print. Generally, the higher the fill density, the stronger the object but also the longer the print time. Standard print infill is 20% and you should never go above 60% or 0% which will make your object hollow.
Sometimes, 3D models have "overhangs" - layers that extend outwards that are usually unsupported over previous layers.
Quality and Layer Height refers to print resolution or print quality and changes the surface quality of a 3D print. There are three options:
The general rule of thumb is: the smaller the layer height, the higher the resolution/quality, but the longer the print time.
For spools that don't fit into the filament drawer, please use the new red filament spool holder located at the back of the MakerBot (see below).