Meet Benchy: Your First 3D Print

So you just got a new 3D printer? Awesome! Welcome to modern crafting! We’re going to have so much fun!

There are some people who like to jump into 3D printing with both feet and just. Start. Printing. That might work…but if you don’t have you printer set up correctly, or got it tuned just right. Yikes!

A mess of filament from a 3d printer fail.

Print a Benchmark

Benchmarks are prints that you use to test your printer and see if everything is set correctly.

These are things like calibration cubes, torture tests…and jolly old 3DBenchy.

A red 3DBenchy bench marking boat

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who could get Benchy, the world’s most popular 3D printed boat, confused with Boaty McBoatface, the internet named research sub. However, infuriates my kiddo every time I called the little boat by it’s wrong name…so naturally I have to keep doing it.

What is 3DBenchy?

Benchy is a small 3D printed model designed for testing your 3D printer’s accuracy. If you can print a good Benchy then relax, because your printer is set up perfectly.

A lot of people also like to print a Benchy when testing a new brand or type of filament…you can easily end up with a colorful fleet.

3DBenchy was designed by Creative Tools, a Swedish 3D tech company and set loose on the internet for free. The boat has lots of little features that can be hard to print: arch ways, cylinders, overhangs, smooth surfaces, tiny details, and horizontal holes.

The tiny tugboat’s small size also means you can print one fairly quick and it doesn’t use a lot of material. Benchy takes about 13g of filament on my set up. If you use a standard 1KG spool of material, you could make 153 boats.

Not sure what you’d do with 153 boats…

2 Million Downloads since 2015

There’s a massive fleet of Benchies out there, with over 2 million downloads on Thingiverse alone!

Benchy’s popularity means that when your Benchy goes horribly wrong, you can take it’s photo online and ask any forum for advice. Veteran printers have all printed the little boat too and can offer up sage (we hope) advice.

White 3DBenching
This Benchy was printed too fast and without Z Hop.

How to Use 3D Benchy

Got a bad Benchy? Use it to trouble shoot your 3D printer! (I mean, that’s what’s for, right?) Compare your results with this quality guide by Simplyfiy3D. They make slicing software, so they know what they’re talking about.

Benchy uses less than one percent of your average spool of 1Kg filament, so feel free to use it as a color swatch. #RainbowBenchy!

Track those Benchy Boats! There’s no point in keeping a dozen tiny tugboats around your workspace if you can’t remember the details behind each print.

Some details can be written on the bottom of the boat with a Sharpie. Remember, you’ll need a light colored marker for dark plastics. You can also number the boats and keep more detailed notes in a note book or text file.

Bottom of 3D Benchy with notes written on it

Or you can print these Benchy Note Flags from Thingiverse and put a bit more detail right on the boat.

6 3D Benchy boats with printed plastic flags for notes

Benchy Smartphone Studio

If you’re really into cataloging your Benchy boats you can print this tiny studio! It was made by Creative Tools (Benchy’s creator) so you know it will snap together perfectly.

3D Printed studio for cataloging your fleet of Benchy Boats and other small things. Holds a smartphone, the Benchy, paper for a backdrop and two flashlights.

Benchy Accessories

The simple bench marking tool has gathered an adoring fan club. You can find tons of mods, accessories and scenes you too can print for your little boaty friend. You can find many great — and down right funny — mashups and addons over at Thingiverse.com.

Flags and Chimney Smoke

Give your Benchy a little flare with a cool 3D printed flag and some cartoonish chimney smoke. Both are found on Thingiverse — and since every Benchy is the same…they all fit!

a Red Benchy decked out with a pirate flag and bumpers.
Note: 2nd colors added with markers and paint

Turn your Tug into a Bathtub Boat

You know your kids want to take Benchy into the tub next bath time! Unfortunately, the little boat was meant for the dry land of your workbench or desktop…not real water. However, a British maker shared some cute accessories to balance the boat and plug up dangerous holes.

Not sure it really works…we we tried it and our Benchy floated for all of 2 seconds. You’re better off looking up a boat meant for water, like this bathtub boat.

3D Benchy Harbor

Moor eight Benchies to this pier and place on your desk with pride!

benchy boats on a 3D printed pier

Benchy at Sea

Hang 10! Print Benchy a nice wave to ride.