Curious about the new Silhouette Alta 3D Printer? Or did you just get an Alta for yourself and need a little help getting started? If so, you are in the right place! Learn how to set up the Silhouette Alta 3D Printer and make your very first project with this step-by-step video tutorial. Thank you to Silhouette for providing me with this machine. This post contains affiliate links, which help to support this site at no extra cost to you.
If you follow me on instagram, then you may have seen some of my stories lately featuring my new crafting toy – the Silhouette Alta 3d Printer! I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks playing around with the Alta and making lots of projects so I could come back here and share my experience with you all. Today, I’m starting off with a beginner’s guide to getting started with the Silhouette Alta.
If you just got your own Alta, hopefully this step-by-step video will help you to set up your own machine and create your first project. I have found that there is a bit of a learning curve with this machine and 3D printing in general, but I hope that the tips I have found and shared in this video will make your experience smoother! You can find the full video tutorial for getting started with your Silhouette Alta below.
How to Set Up the Silhouette Alta and Make Your First Project
The video tutorial below will walk you through all of the steps of setting up your machine and making your first project, but for the readers out there, I will give a quick written run down too (just keep reading). If you don’t see the video below, you can see it HERE on my youtube channel.
You can find links for all the products I used in the video here:
Silhouette Alta Supplies:
- Silhouette Alta 3D Printer (You can buy it directly from Silhouette or from Swing Design also available on Amazon) (PSST – At Silhouette, you can get free shipping on orders over $50 through August 15 by using the code PERSIA at checkout.)
- 1.75 mm PLA Filament (I have successfully used Silhouette brand, Hatchbox, and Solutech so far. I have had the best results with Silhouette and Hatchbox.)
- Silhouette Alta Platform Tape
- Glue Stick (for helping first layers to adhere to platform)
- Sand Paper (for smoothing and finishing prints)
Setting Up the Silhouette Alta
1. Remove Packing Materials.
You will need to use the keys included with your machine to open the door to remove the styrofoam packed inside. Be careful!
2. Download and Install Software.
Visit silhouetteamerica.com/setup to register your machine, download the Silhouette 3D software, and get access to the 25 free 3D designs that come with your machine.
3. Connect the Machine.
Plug in the power cord and connect the USB cord to your computer where you have Silhouette 3D installed. Finally, flip on the green switch to power on the printer. It will light up when powered.
Making your first Project with the Silhouette Alta
1. Prepare Print Platform.
Your machine comes with a round clear disc, which is the printing platform. Before printing, you need to do a couple things to get the platform ready. First, you need to apply a piece of platform tape. The Alta tape is perfectly sized to fit the platform and is easy to apply. You want to smooth it down to eliminate any wrinkles or bubbles.
Next, I recommend applying a thin layer of glue stick on top of your platform tape. Maybe try printing without it first to see if you need it, but I had a lot of issues with my first layers not sticking to the platform until I started using the glue stick. I tried a couple types, and the craft bond repositionable glue stick worked great.
2. Load Filament.
You can use any 1.75 mm PLA filament with the Silhouette Alta. See my supply list above for a couple of options I have used so far. To load the filament, place the spool on top of the machine, thread the filament through the hole, feed it through the clear plastic tube included with your machine, squeeze the lever, and insert it into the hole. I had a few issues with getting the filament to load properly my first few attempts. You may have to jiggle the filament around a bit, but I found I had the best success loading the filament when I actually got the filament to pass into the tube inside the machine.
Next, click on the spool icon on the 3D Print tab. Then select “Load.” The print head will heat up, feed the filament down to the head, and then melt some out into the hole in front of the print platform.
3. Select Project and Print Quality.
I will go into more detail on creating your own projects and designs in future posts, but for now, let’s just work with a Silhouette 3D design. The design I chose for the video example is the Alphabet Bead Collection. Simply open your library under the Design tab, select the 3D design you want to print, and double click to load the design.
Next, click on the 3D Print tab, and then choose your print quality settings. There are three default print quality settings or you can make adjustments to create your own settings. Draft is the lowest quality and will print the quickest. High Quality prints will take longer. You can see the estimated print time beneath the drop down menu.
Finally, click print, and your machine will heat up and then get to work!
When it is done printing, give it a minute or two to cool down, and then remove the print from the platform using your scraper tool.
You can finish off your project by sanding it to smooth out and polish it or by painting it if you like. And that’s it! Your first Silhouette Alta project!
Silhouette Alta Sample Projects
I am really excited about what I have been able to make with the Alta so far! I have made boxes, jewelry, cupcake toppers, paper clips, tags, ornaments, keychains, cookie cutters and even a real working yo-yo! There are so many possibilities and I can’t wait to keep experimenting, customizing, and making!
Please drop all your Silhouette Alta questions, comments, problems, project ideas in the comments below! And thanks for being here!
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Comments + Project Love
Gemini Clara says
Nic e post
Beth Remillard says
For personal use cookie cutters will the lowest quality work or do you recommend the highest quality for the best cut?
I had pretty good results with the lowest quality for cookie cutters.
Purchased 3D Alta Printer
Hi I am not sure who to ask. I have had a silhouette cameo 3 for several years and I have my designs that I have downloaded from my purchases etc. Everything works great. I purchased by Alta 3D printer set it up etc. but…the design software will not connect to my to my current account. I keep getting an error message “the server returned an unexpected error” so just to see if it would work I created another account and it worked. Help what do I need to do?
Hi Brenda! I’m sorry that I am late responding, but I will definitely recommend reaching out to Silhouette support. They have been super helpful for me when I have had issues. Good luck!
Rachel Boothe says
How much sanding is necessary on the 3d printed object?
I’m not sure your preferred way of contact, but do you have a video on making molds for beads or jewelry?
Hi Candice, I do not have a video yet for that, but that’s a great suggestion!