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Due to popular demand, I’ve decided to take my MakerGear Mosaic assembly guide one step further, past the physical construction of the robot, and cover the process of getting through the first print.

I’ve now completely built two hobby-class CNC tools, from kits, and assisted in the construction of two more. And in my experience, it seems like getting the robot built is at best half the work of getting to the first complete job. Once you have the hardware ready to go, the number of options for your setup expands quite rapidly depending on the type of computer you’re using, its operating system, and the CAD, CAM, and host software packages you choose. I dedicated an old laptop to my printer, running Windows XP SP3, and am using a software toolchain consisting of SketchUp, Slic3r, and Pronterface. This is the most basic, user-friendly setup I can think of. But your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Traditionally, the first print off of a RepRap is supposed to be a shot glass, and the traditional file is minimug.stl. The original minimug file is available on the RepRap wiki, but for whatever reasons it is rotated at an unprintable angle, which is inconvenient for beginners. I have rotated it upright, centered it on the X and Y axes, and set its lower extremity at Z=0 and reposted it on Thingiverse.

What you test your shot glass with, of course, is entirely up to you. Personally, I’ve found Glenfiddich Solera Reserve to be an excellent choice. Its viscosity is lower than that of water, and thus makes for a better test of the integrity of your printed shot glass. And it’s easily disposed of when the test is complete.

The MakerGear Mosaic 3D Printer – Part VIII: The First Print


Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. William says:

    Is it a good idea to eat/drink from dinnerware freshly printed with ABS? I’ve heard various nasty things about the toxicity of ABS, not sure if PLA would be better…

    In my personal experience, little shot glasses printed on the makerbot seemed watertight but if you let the liquid sit in it long enough (30 minutes, 1 hour, …) it started to leak.

    Of course with a good drink in it, there is no need to let it sit so long ;-)

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      Yeah, I didn’t mention it in this post, but in the tutorial I talk about starting with PLA being an all-around better option. That shot glass is PLA.

  2. William Brohinsky says:

    I shouldn’t say it, but I will anyway: you have two Part VIII links at the bottom of the article. (I.e., the text says VIII for part VII: the electronics. The actual links point to the right places.)

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      TY! Fixed!