Getting Started

Learn to use our equipment.

Electronics, An Overview

Where to buy electronic components:

Sparkfun (They offer an academic discount if you make a student account)



Set Up Arduino IDE and Feather M0

  • Download Arduino IDE, the app - not the beta cloud version

  • Follow this setup guide to get Feather M0 working with IDE

  • Install Loom - Our plug and play Arduino library and hardware suite for rapidly prototyping new environmental sensors, loggers, and instrumentation.

Upgrade your gray matter: Watch these videos on electronics

Sensors/Actuators Commonly Used @ OPEnS Lab




3D Printing, An Overview

Also find our guide here or click here for more info.

There are two FREE programs we use mostly here. Fusion360 and OpenSCAD.

Fusion 360:

Start by making a free student account here.

Download the Fusion360 application.

Learn to use, start with these YouTube tutorials.

And watch this 3D printing specific tutorial for Fusion360 to output your design as .stl files


  • Industry-standard software platform

  • Free educational account

  • Nice interface

  • realistic 3D renderings with many different material skins and backgrounds (just for looks really)


  • Not as easy or intuitive to share and modify parameters of designs with others

  • Can be expensive to maintain license when you graduate


This is an open source text-based coding environment for CAD. Go to to download the program and review tutorials to get started. This is copiously documented and you can be making primitive designs and modifying them within 15min.


  • Big community and lots of cheat sheets.

  • Easy to share files with others and modify parameters.

  • Easy to comprehend and learn if you have programming background (looks to be some adaptation of C )


  • No interface, so lack features of some industry-standard CAD programs

  • No previous programming experience could pose a barrier to learning quickly


  • Refer to the specifications on the About Page for print area and tolerances so your design is compliant

  • To print a model it must be exported as a Stereolithography file, with an STL extension (.stl). Most CAD programs can save or export in this format, as can other free 3D modeling software packages, such as Sketchup Make, AutoCAD's 123D, TinkerCAD and Blender.

  • The mesh or surface of the 3D model must be watertight and a solid. More technically, all faces of the object must construct one or more closed volume entities. When the faces are not fully closed, they produce gaps or holes in the model and those holes and gaps will keep the model from printing correctly.

  • You model does not need to be manually hollowed out. On the submission form you can specify the amount of infill you prefer.

  • The cost for 3D printing is determined by the amount of filament and type of filament used for your model, including support material. Billing will be conducted through ONID and will show up as a 3D printing charge on your account. After you submit your .stl file, we will review the model and email you with the cost to print.

  • If possible, build your model in millimeters , or convert to mm when you get ready to submit your file. Please make sure that you include this information in your file submission.

  • Make sure you delete any 2D elements from your model that were used to create sweeps, lofts or other complex shapes. If these elements remain in your file, they can cause naked edge problems. Remove them as you go and it will be easier to have a clean print. Remember that your model has to be a SOLID watertight object. It cannot contain 2D planes, lines or other elements that can exist in the native modeling format. 2D objects cannot be printed, even if assembled into a "box" or other solid-looking volume. The pieces must be welded together and solid forms created to be printed.

  • Before submitting your first job, come by our lab to do a geometry check. Model designs containing holes and gaps adversely affect the quality of the printed model. Thirdparty software for this purpose attempts to fix the geometry of problematic files. Many companies that provide 3D printing services have a file upload that you can use to check to see if your file is OK before submitting. Another good tool to use is a product called NetFabb, They have a free version (netfabb Basic) that you can download, as well as a pay version, that will help you analyze problems with your STL file. They also provide a cloud service that can check your files. MeshLab is another program that you can use to analyze your files.

  • The file needs to be named in the following way: ONIDusername.stl.

  • Request a print job on the OPEnS portal, select your 3D printer of choice, upload file, procure payment for material used, schedule a print time with staff

  • See Lab Access page for 3D printing etiquette

Other Useful Printing Tips

  • If your model is made up of multiple parts, submit each part as a separate STL file. The parts can be laid out in the machine in different orientations that will optimize the print for both cost and print time.

  • Check your model's geometry. NetFabb has a cloud service or downloadable software that does this (free).

  • For help using NetFabb, see a Shapeways tutorial

  • Use your software’s help files and the vendor’s websites to search for information on 3D printing. Rhino provides a link to help with 3D rendering.

  • There are sites that help with the commands needed to correct many problems with a model: Rhino has a page on checking/repairing meshes.

  • It may be necessary to convert your solid to a mesh. Please see your software for steps on how to accomplish this.

  • Things to be careful of:

    • degenerate faces - Mesh faces that have 0 area

    • zero length edges - Edges with no length, created by degenerate faces

    • non manifold edges - Faces that have more than one face connected to a single edge

    • naked edges - A surface or polysurface edge that is not connected to another edge

    • duplicate faces - Identical faces in a single mesh

    • faces that could make it better if their directions were flipped ? The faces in a mesh object should point in a consistent direction

    • disjoint pieces - Mesh objects that do not connect but are considered a single mesh

Printing with TAZ LULZBOT

  • Open CURA software

  • Click on the LOAD MODEL icon and locate the .stl file you wish to print

  • Design should appear immediately after loading (sometimes it might be very very tiny, but it's there and you'll scale it in following steps).

  • Chose print quality. Go to File > Open > Profile > Documents > 3DPrinter > PrintProfiles.

  • In the PrintProfiles folder, you can choose Fast, Standard, or High quality settings.

  • You will likely need to re-orient or scale your object. Do this by using the ROTATE, SCALE, and/or MIRROR icons at the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind some orientations are better than others, consult with the OPEnS technicians your first time, or if you have questions.

  • Click on CONTROL. Set nozzle to appropriate temperature according to the material being used.

    • ABS settings: Extruder 240⁰C, Bed 110⁰C, Removal 50⁰C

    • PLA settings: Extruder 205⁰C, Bed 60⁰C, Removal 45⁰C

    • NYLON 645 settings: Extruder 242⁰C, Bed 30⁰C, Removal 60⁰C

  • Set bed to appropriate temperature according to material used

  • Click Print.

  • Monitor your print closely for at least the first 2 layers before cleaning up and leaving your space.

Printing with Prusa i3 MK3S

  • Open Slic3r software.

  • Click on the LOAD MODEL icon and select the .stl file you wish to print.

  • You will likely need to re-orient or scale your object. Do this by using the ROTATE, SCALE, and/or MIRROR icons at the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind some orientations are better than others, consult with the OPEnS technicians your first time, or if you have questions.

  • Select the Print Settings you would like to use in the drop-down menu on the right side of the screen. 0.15mm QUALITY MK3 is a good general purpose setting.

  • Select the type of filament you are using. Make sure the right filament is loaded into the printer.

  • Click the Slice Now button and save the .gcode file to the SD card for the printer.

  • Push the knob on the printer when on the main info screen and select the Print from SD option. Select the file you wish to print.

  • Monitor your print closely for at least the first 2 layers before cleaning up and leaving your space.

Printing with Fusion 3

Printing with Form 2

Laser Cutter, Making your Design

Design in Fusion 360

Steps after Finishing the design:

  • Acquire the materials you want to cut. See a list of approved materials on the Laser Cutter page. Also purchase a sheet or two of cardboard to cut a test design to prove it will work on your desired material.

  • Materials must have original labels and be approved by OPEnS technicians before use

  • Schedule a cut time on our OPEnS portal

  • Show up at your scheduled time with labeled materials and your design as a .DXF file

  • OPEnS technicians alone are authorized to operate the laser cutter

PCB Design