What is a MAKERBOT file & how do I open a MAKERBOT file (MakerBot Print File)?

.MAKERBOT (MakerBot Print File) - File Extension

Developer: MakerBot Industries

What is a MAKERBOT File?

A MAKERBOT file, denoted by the “.MAKERBOT” extension, is a digital file format specifically designed for MakerBot Replicator desktop 3D printers.

Essentially, it serves as a container for 3D printing instructions. This file extension is used to store data that provides precise directions to the 3D printer on how to construct a physical object layer by layer. In essence, it’s the digital blueprint that guides the 3D printing process.

How to Open a MAKERBOT File

Opening a MAKERBOT file requires specialized software designed to interface with MakerBot 3D printers. While there are several programs available for this purpose, MakerBot Print is the official software developed by MakerBot Industries.

Here are the steps to open a MAKERBOT file using MakerBot Print:

  1. Install MakerBot Print: If you haven’t already, download and install MakerBot Print from the official MakerBot website.
  2. Connect Your Printer: Ensure that your MakerBot Replicator desktop 3D printer is connected to your computer via USB or through a network connection.
  3. Launch MakerBot Print: Open the MakerBot Print software on your computer.
  4. Open the MAKERBOT File: In MakerBot Print, go to the “File” menu and select “Open.” Browse to the location where your MAKERBOT file is stored and select it.
  5. Begin Printing: Once the file is opened, MakerBot Print will display a preview of the 3D model. You can then proceed to send the file to your 3D printer for printing.

How to Convert a MAKERBOT File

Converting a MAKERBOT file to another format or vice versa can be a complex task due to the proprietary nature of MakerBot’s software and hardware. MakerBot Replicators typically use the “.MAKERBOT” format exclusively for printing.

Therefore, there are limited options for conversion. However, if you wish to export a model from a MAKERBOT file to a more common 3D file format like “.STL” or “.OBJ,” you can typically do so within the MakerBot Print software. Here’s how:

  1. Open the MAKERBOT File: Follow the steps mentioned in the previous section to open the MAKERBOT file in MakerBot Print.
  2. Export as STL or OBJ: Once the MAKERBOT file is loaded, you can usually find an option within the software to export the 3D model as an STL or OBJ file. Look for an export or save option in the software’s menu, often labeled “Export” or “Save As.”
  3. Select the Format: Choose the desired format (STL or OBJ) for the export and specify the file name and location.
  4. Complete the Export: Click the “Save” or “Export” button to create the converted file.

While this method allows you to export the 3D model, it’s important to note that it may not capture all the printer-specific instructions contained in the original MAKERBOT file. Consequently, the converted file may require additional adjustments for printing on different 3D printers.

Security Considerations: Are “.MAKERBOT” Files Safe?

MAKERBOT files themselves are not inherently unsafe, as they are simply containers for 3D printing instructions. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when downloading MAKERBOT files from the internet or opening them from unknown sources.

Like any digital file, MAKERBOT files can potentially carry malware or malicious instructions if obtained from untrustworthy websites or individuals.

To ensure the safety of your 3D printing process, adhere to the following security best practices:

  • Only download MAKERBOT files from reputable sources, such as the official MakerBot website or trusted online 3D printing communities.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software to scan downloaded MAKERBOT files for potential threats.
  • Avoid opening MAKERBOT files received via email or from unverified sources.
  • Keep your MakerBot Replicator’s firmware and software updated to patch any security vulnerabilities.

By following these precautions, you can minimize the risk associated with MAKERBOT files and enjoy a secure 3D printing experience.

Format Details for MAKERBOT Files

MAKERBOT files have a unique format tailored specifically to the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. While the exact technical specifications of this format may not be publicly available, it is understood to contain a combination of 3D model data and printer-specific instructions.

These instructions include details on layer height, extrusion temperature, print speed, and other parameters essential for successful 3D printing on a MakerBot Replicator.

In essence, a MAKERBOT file can be thought of as a specialized recipe that guides the 3D printer in creating an object layer by layer. This format is not intended for general-purpose 3D modeling or interchangeability with other 3D printing platforms, making it unique to MakerBot’s ecosystem.

Uses and Applications of MAKERBOT Files

MAKERBOT files are primarily used in the context of MakerBot Replicator desktop 3D printers. They serve as the intermediary between 3D models created using 3D modeling software and the physical objects produced by the printer.

Here are some common applications of MAKERBOT files:

  1. Rapid Prototyping: Many product designers and engineers use MakerBot Replicators to quickly create prototypes of their designs. MAKERBOT files allow them to translate digital designs into physical prototypes with ease.
  2. Education: In educational settings, MAKERBOT files are employed to teach students about 3D printing technology. Students can design their own objects and use MAKERBOT files to print them.
  3. Customization: Hobbyists and enthusiasts can use MAKERBOT files to customize and create unique objects, from personalized figurines to replacement parts for household items.
  4. Art and Sculpture: Artists and sculptors leverage MakerBot Replicators to bring their digital artwork to life. MAKERBOT files enable them to produce intricate sculptures and art installations.

While MAKERBOT files are highly valuable within the MakerBot ecosystem, they may not be directly compatible with other 3D printers or software, limiting their broader applications.

Associated Software Programs

As mentioned earlier, MakerBot Print is the primary software program associated with MAKERBOT files. It is the official software developed by MakerBot Industries for interacting with MakerBot Replicator 3D printers. MakerBot Print provides a user-friendly interface for loading, slicing, and printing MAKERBOT files.

Additionally, there are third-party software solutions and plugins developed by the 3D printing community that may offer compatibility with MAKERBOT files. These tools can sometimes extend the capabilities of MAKERBOT file handling and conversion.

However, it’s essential to exercise caution when using third-party software to ensure compatibility and security.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MAKERBOT Files

MAKERBOT files offer several advantages and disadvantages, depending on the context in which they are used:


  • Precision: MAKERBOT files contain detailed instructions tailored to MakerBot Replicator printers, ensuring precise 3D prints.
  • Ease of Use: MakerBot Print provides a user-friendly interface for handling MAKERBOT files, making it accessible to beginners.
  • Support and Community: MakerBot has a robust user community, which means access to support and a wealth of resources.


  • Limited Compatibility: MAKERBOT files are specific to MakerBot Replicator printers, limiting their use with other 3D printers.
  • Proprietary Format: The format is proprietary, making it challenging to work with outside the MakerBot ecosystem.
  • Cost: MakerBot 3D printers and associated software can be relatively expensive compared to other 3D printing options.

Comparison with Other File Extensions

When comparing MAKERBOT files to other 3D printing file formats like “.STL” and “.OBJ,” several key differences emerge:

  • MAKERBOT files are primarily designed for MakerBot Replicator 3D printers and contain printer-specific instructions, while .STL and .OBJ files are more universal and widely supported formats for 3D printing.
  • .STL files (Stereolithography) are commonly used for their simplicity and compatibility with various 3D printers and software. They represent the surface geometry of 3D models, but they lack printer-specific instructions.
  • .OBJ files are another widely accepted 3D file format that includes both geometry and texture information. Like .STL files, .OBJ files lack printer-specific instructions.

The choice between MAKERBOT files and other formats depends on the specific 3D printer you’re using and your requirements for precision and compatibility.

Troubleshooting MAKERBOT Files

While working with MAKERBOT files, you may encounter certain issues. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  1. Print Not Starting: If your 3D printer does not initiate the print, ensure that the printer is correctly connected to the computer and that MakerBot Print recognizes it. Check for any error messages in the software.
  2. Print Quality Issues: If you’re experiencing print quality problems, such as layer misalignment or inconsistent extrusion, review the settings in MakerBot Print to ensure they match the requirements of your MAKERBOT file. Additionally, ensure that your printer’s hardware components, such as the nozzle and bed, are clean and properly calibrated.
  3. Incompatibility: If you need to use a MAKERBOT file with a non-MakerBot 3D printer, consider exporting the model as an STL or OBJ file within MakerBot Print and then using a slicer software compatible with your printer to generate the necessary G-code.
  4. Software Crashes: If MakerBot Print crashes or becomes unresponsive, ensure that your computer meets the software’s system requirements and consider updating to the latest version of MakerBot Print.

History of the MAKERBOT File Extension

The MAKERBOT file extension is intrinsically linked to the history of MakerBot Industries, a company founded by Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer, and Zach Smith in 2009. MakerBot’s mission was to bring 3D printing technology to the masses by creating accessible and affordable desktop 3D printers.

Over the years, MakerBot has introduced various printer models, including the Replicator series, which became widely popular.

As part of their commitment to user-friendly 3D printing, MakerBot developed the “.MAKERBOT” file extension to simplify the 3D printing process. The format allowed MakerBot users to easily transfer 3D models from their design software to their MakerBot Replicators, streamlining the printing process.

Tips and Tricks for MAKERBOT Files

Here are some tips and tricks to enhance your experience with MAKERBOT files:

  1. Calibrate Your Printer: Regularly calibrate your MakerBot Replicator to ensure accurate prints. Proper calibration is crucial for achieving the desired results.
  2. Explore MakerBot Print Settings: Familiarize yourself with the various print settings available in MakerBot Print. Understanding these settings can help you optimize your prints for different scenarios.
  3. Community Resources: Join MakerBot’s online community and forums to connect with other users. You can find valuable tips, troubleshooting advice, and even pre-made MAKERBOT files for various projects.
  4. Experiment: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different print settings, materials, and designs. 3D printing is an art, and innovation often comes from trying new things.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Keep your MakerBot Replicator in good condition by performing routine maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the print bed and nozzle.

More Information

In addition to the extensive information provided in the previous sections, here are a few more insights and considerations related to MAKERBOT files:

Proprietary Nature:

MAKERBOT files are proprietary to MakerBot Industries. This means that the format’s technical specifications and details are closely guarded by MakerBot.

While this ensures a high level of integration and compatibility within the MakerBot ecosystem, it can pose challenges for users who wish to work with MAKERBOT files outside of this ecosystem.

The proprietary nature of MAKERBOT files also means that any changes or updates to the format are solely under the control of MakerBot Industries. Users relying on MAKERBOT files should keep this in mind when considering the long-term stability and support of their 3D printing projects.

Firmware and Software Compatibility:

To ensure seamless operation, it’s crucial to keep both your MakerBot Replicator’s firmware and the MakerBot Print software up to date.

Updates often include bug fixes, performance improvements, and sometimes even new features. Staying current with updates helps ensure that your MAKERBOT files are processed correctly and that your 3D prints are of the highest quality.

MakerBot’s Ecosystem:

MakerBot has developed an extensive ecosystem around its 3D printers and MAKERBOT files. This includes not only the MakerBot Print software but also the Thingiverse platform.

Thingiverse is a community-driven website where users can share 3D models and MAKERBOT files. It’s an excellent resource for finding ready-made 3D models, modifications, and inspiration for your own 3D printing projects.

Customization and Optimization:

While MAKERBOT files are designed to simplify the 3D printing process, there is often room for customization and optimization.

MakerBot Print provides a range of settings that allow you to tailor the print to your specific needs. These settings include options for layer height, infill density, print speed, and more.

Experimenting with these settings can help you achieve the desired balance between print quality and printing time.

Third-Party Plugins and Tools:

While MakerBot Print is the official software for handling MAKERBOT files, the 3D printing community is known for its innovation and collaboration.

As a result, there are third-party plugins and tools developed by enthusiasts and experts that can extend the capabilities of MakerBot printers and the handling of MAKERBOT files.

These plugins may offer additional features, customization options, or compatibility with other software and hardware. Exploring these third-party resources can be valuable for advanced users looking to expand the functionality of their MakerBot setup.


The “.MAKERBOT” file extension is a specialized format that plays a vital role in the world of 3D printing, particularly within the MakerBot ecosystem.

While it offers precision and ease of use for MakerBot Replicator users, its proprietary nature limits its compatibility with other 3D printers and software. Understanding how to open, convert, and troubleshoot MAKERBOT files is essential for those embarking on their 3D printing journey.

As technology continues to advance, it’s likely that the world of 3D printing will evolve, and the role of file extensions like MAKERBOT will continue to be pivotal in shaping the future of manufacturing and innovation.

Software Compatible With The MAKERBOT File Type
MakerBot Print File

In this section you will find a list of the best programs compatible with the MAKERBOT file type. We've selected the best software for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux to open, edit, convert and view the contents of MAKERBOT files.