Woo hoo!  The printer is together.  It’s time to print.  

Looking around at the SD card that comes with the printer (destroy it… it is junk.  Seriously, it is complete garbage), you will see it is blank.  

What do you do now?  Well, if you are here, you probably googled, or went to the facebook group and found this link.  

You can find things to print on Thingiverse.com.  

Once you download the .stl model, you will need to get a program that will slice it.  These programs have a plethora (there’s a word you don’t use much) of settings and options.  From how fast the print head moves, to how much fill, to how thick layers, and hundreds of other options.

There are two major free programs and one that is free.  

The two free programs are Cura 3D and Slic3r.  

The paid one is Simplify 3D.  

These programs let you open up an STL file, do some minor modifications (resize/move) and then generate the gcode the 3D Printer uses to print.  While all programs work well, Simplify 3D is the most powerful tool.  

I use Cura 3D because I can’t afford Simplify 3D at this time.  When you setup Cura 3D, choose the Pursa i3 for the Tevo Tarantula or the XL version for the large bed version, since it is a clone.  From there, you can load your .stl file and then choose the print quality. (Normal, .2mm is relatively easy)  From there, put your SD card in your computer and click save to removable drive in the lower right corner.  

Take that to your printer.  After you insert it under the LCD, use the knob to go down to start a print, then select your file to print.  The printer should start warming up.  

This is a basic overview, but should get you going.  That is my workflow.

A couple of other options allow you to print from a web host running on Raspberry Pi or directly from your computer.

The first one is Octoprint.  This is a community supported project that allows you to use a Raspberry Pi as a host server.  This plugs into your Printer’s board through the USB connection (I recently set this up, and it is pretty cool, really).  Octoprint uses the “Cura” engine, and you can also load .stl models directly, and it will slice them for you.

The second one, that I have very limited knowledge of is Repetier.  From what I can tell, I think it allows you to load images that it then slices and then can start printing directly from your computer.  I know this software is popular.

UPDATE: Angus did a new free slicer comparison.  The old videos he did are outdated with the speed of updates on the free slicers.   This is a great video.