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8 Killer Tips For Getting Started
With 3D Printing

We’re glad you stopped by, whether you’re new to 3D printing technology or just trying to fill in some information gaps.  Most of us have learned about the potential of 3D printing at some stage. 3D printing is a method of creating a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model by laying down several successive thin layers of material. It converts a digital object (its CAD representation) into a physical object by inserting materials layer by layer.

We were all newbies once! Here are the top ten tips for getting started with 3D printing – whether it’s your first time or you need to brush up on the basics, this guide will help!

1. Leveling the Bed and Z Offset

While automated bed leveling is far more popular than it used to be, with many different sensors or methods to level the bed, many printers still use manual leveling, which is perfectly fine and simple to maintain. If it is automatic, simply follow the instructions or wizards that your printer uses to level, but if it is manual, here is a reasonable method to use:

  1. A plane is described by three points, but many printers still use four screws to level the bed, one at each corner. This can still work; it’s just a little more complicated to get it exactly right.
  2. Tighten all of the screws in each corner, leaving enough room to loosen them later.
  3. Return the Z axis to its original position. On certain printers, even though all the screws are loose, Z0 can be too far from the bed, in which case the Z-minimum endstop must be moved slightly lower.
  4. Switch off the printer or choose “Release motors” or “Motors off.” Most printers have something along these lines in their LCD menus, and all it does is allow you to shift the print head without locking the motors.
  5. Place the printhead over each screw that levels the bed, insert a piece of paper between the nozzle and the bed, and loosen the screw until there is just a minimal resistance when pulling on the paper. You don’t want it to be too tight, just enough to feel the drag as you pass the paper.
  6. Rep for the remaining screws. You want to make sure that each screw has the same amount of pressure as the last one, because that is what creates a level bed.
  7. Begin a print by covering the bed with a skirt. If the skirt has gaps in each pass, the bed is too low and the print is at risk of separating from the bed in the middle of the print.If the lines are totally squished together and you can’t tell them apart, you may have to pound the print with a hammer to get it off (figuratively, of course).
  8. Once leveled, it should stay level for a long time, but you will need to move a screw only slightly to get it back to level every now and then.
bed leveling 3d printer
Source: All3dp.com

2. Changing Filament

I used to believe that removing filament from a cold nozzle was as simple as unloading an ink cartridge from a printer. No, it is not. You must heat the nozzle in order to melt the filament that has formed a plug and lock it into the tip of the nozzle.

  • Begin by heating your printer to the print temperature of the content you’re using.Set it to 200C or so if you’re trying to delete PLA, 230C if you’re removing ABS, and so on.
  • If it has reached temperature, release the stress on the filament by pressing down on the lever and slightly pushing down on the filament before it exits the nozzle.
  • When you see filament coming out, gently take it out.
  • This eliminates the majority of the filament, but there will almost certainly be some left over when you insert the fresh filament.
  • Insert the new filament, make sure it passes through the extruder and into the nozzle properly. If it’s a different material from what was previously loaded, set the temperature to the highest print temperature.
  • To feed the filament through, either manually force it through or operate the extruder from the menu.
  • When you see the new material coming through cleanly (i.e., not mixed with the previous color or with flecks of burnt old material), you’re finished!
getting started with 3d printing - changing filament ender
Source: All3dp.com

3. Changing a Nozzle

When you have a clogged nozzle and are in a hurry, or if you don’t care about surface quality and just need big parts quickly, switching out your nozzle for a different sized one is a perfect solution to get things going again.

  1. The basic idea is to heat up the hot end, use grips to hold the heater block, unscrew the nozzle with a wrench, and then repeat the process with the new nozzle.
  2. Nozzles are available in a range of sizes, ranging from tiny nozzles for comprehensive prints to large nozzles for quick and powerful prints. There are also nozzles built to handle every abrasive substance you might think of.
3D Printer Nozzles

4. When to Use Support

Some versions are unprintable in the absence of funding, while others sacrifice valuable features by providing them. To improve your chances of a good print, you must be able to recognise when a model falls into one of these categories.

Don’t use support

  1. Just because a model has overhangs doesn’t mean it needs support; the general rule is that if the angle is greater than 45 degrees, consider adding support, but some models don’t. Bridging, which is a 90-degree overhang that is supported on both sides, does not normally include supports.
  2. Despite having parts at angles greater than 45 degrees, cylindrical holes in the side of a model do not normally need support. If you don’t have enough layer cooling, you could see some drooping along the ceiling, but it will still print.

 

Internal features can be filled in by supports and made unremovable. Consider the Phoenix prosthetic paws. These, as well as the majority of others, allow hands, have internal channels through which elastic thread and fishing line can be threaded to transfer the hand. These would be filled if help was used, resulting in worthless prints.

Making Use of Support

Most models will need some kind of assistance. This part of the jet engine casing was printed without support by mistake, and although it worked, it is obviously not as attractive as the other pieces that were printed with support. You would need to use help if any portion of the model protrudes from the side of the model, such as these attachment points.

5. Bed Adhesive

There are many techniques for assisting prints to adhere to the bed, and everyone eventually settles on one and sticks with it.

  1. PVA glue sticks work well with PLA, Nylon, and TPU.
  2. Aquanet Hairspray is ideal for ABS, but it can also be used on PLA and PETG.
  3. Even if your bed is not heated, blue painter’s tape works well for PLA and PETG.
  4. Kapton tape is an excellent general-purpose bed adhesive.
  5. PEI adheres to prints when hot and releases when cool; however, PETG and TPU/TPE adhere too strongly, so you’ll need to use glue stick as a release agent between the PEI and print.

 

BuildTak fits well for almost all materials, and a Flexplate allows for a strong grip and a fast release.

getting started with 3d printing -ultimaker glass bed adhesive glue
Source: additive-x.com

6. Have the Right Tools

There are a number of tools that will always come in handy and are required at some stage. We’ve compiled a list to help make 3D printing a little easier. 

 

  1. It’s a spatula. The BuildTak spatula works well because the angle of the handle allows you to get it flat to the build plate and it doesn’t have a particularly thick blade.
  2. An adhesive for the bed. Discover what works best for you and stick to it.
  3. Cutters for flushing. These are extremely useful for removing support material and provide a smooth, clean cut when trimming filament prior to loading.
  4. A brush made of brass. When your nozzle gets a smooth and dense layer of burnt filament, it’ll be soft enough not to mar it.
  5. Calipers are measuring devices. When trying to model parts that need to fit in specific areas, or when you just need an idea of how large a model is, this is an absolute must.
  6. Set of Hex Keys When opening your printer or assembling multi-part versions, you’ll need a variety of hex wrenches. You can get them for very little money, but ball-ended wrenches are very good if you can find them.

7. Step Away From Yourself

It’s possible to cut yourself from the printer. Aim your spatula in the opposite direction of your body.

While it does not appear to be as sharp as a knife, if the spatula drops, it is thirsty for blood. Gently lift a corner of your print and slip the spatula underneath it.

If it’s taking too much energy, don’t force it. At worst, give the handle a gentle tap with the handle of a screwdriver and try to get some wiggle room, so at least it’s a regulated use of force and you’re less likely to fall.

8. Ask Questions

We were all beginners once, and being bad at something is the first step toward being somewhat decent at something. When you don’t understand what’s going on, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In general, the 3D printing community is eager to assist beginners, so here are some pointers to keep in mind when searching for assistance.

 

  1. Be descriptive. Even if you don’t think it’s a part of the issue, justify it anyway. It’s safer to over-inform than under-inform since that one environment that seems insignificant to you might be the whole reason your print isn’t coming out correctly. Including what printer you have, any modifications you’ve made to it, the print settings, material and brand, bed adhesive, pictures or video, and anything else you may provide.
  2. Use Reddit, printer boards, or any other appropriate site to seek assistance.
  3. If you’ve found out what went wrong, be sure to return to your original post and refresh with what worked. You could end up assisting someone else who has the same problem and stumbles across your thread when searching.

 

3D printing has progressed beyond being an industrial prototyping and manufacturing tool in recent years, as the technology has become more affordable to small businesses and even individuals, that’s why it’s so important to be able to understand your 3D Printer and use it to your best advantage. 


There you have it, the top 8 tips to help you get started with 3D Printing. We hope that you were able to learn something new from our article and that you’re able to understand your 3D Printer a bit better.