3D Printing has become the ultimate way print practically anything you desire. Seasoned 3D Printer enthusiasts have been making beautiful creations for many years, but if you are new to the industry, there are some things you will want to know. Take a few tips from the pros with these 3D Printing techniques and tricks to improve your final design.
The first trick is simple. Just try things out. You will likely not be an expert at producing high end 3D Printed models with your first try. Like anything, even with instructions, it will take time to get things right, so in the beginning, buy more than enough filament and simply try your hand at making a few 3D Printed models. Trial and error are the best tools to learn. Machines are different and when you get to know yours through practice, you will ultimately see your designs improve.
Adjust Your Nozzle Temperature
Among the most important pieces of your 3D Printer is the nozzle, or nozzles if your unit has more than one. The temperature in which filament is extruded from the nozzle will determine how structured the final design is. Too high of a temperature, the model will not form correctly. Too low, the model will look very unprofessional with strings of filament and misshapen attributes. There is a sweet spot with nozzle temperature and when you determine your machine’s optimal nozzle pressure, keep it there. Always check nozzle temperature before proceeding with a 3D Print.
An example of a 3D Printed Model in which the Nozzle Temperature was too low.
3D Printer Bed Materials
A common misconception among those new to the 3D Printing world is that the bed plate your 3D Printer comes with is the one you are stuck with. Contrary to belief, various 3D Printer beds are available for bring different effects to your 3D Printed model. Furthermore, the use of adhesions sprays and glues can leave an imprint on your final model as well. For the best quality 3D Print, ensure that your printer bed is clean and smooth. If you are trying for a specific effect at the base, play around with different 3D Printer bed materials. Glass, Kapton, and PEI print bed materials are known to leave a smooth finish, while other, more porous materials leave more of a matte finish.
Experiment with various 3D Printer bed material options until you get the finish you want.
Store Filament the Right Way
Filament is the life blood of your 3D Printer and what many newbies do not realise is that filament must be kept fresh in order to be useful. Materials such as nylon, ABS, and other flexible type materials tend to suck air in like a sponge. Keeping these materials out in the open can damage their structure leading to an extrusion process that is less than smooth. Your final model will be rough and unprofessional. The trick is to store all filament, regardless of type, in airtight containers.
Filament stored in an airtight plastic container protects it from the air. This one is fitted with an extruder to load directly in the 3D Printer thereby greatly minimising filament’s exposure to any air.
Learn About Slicers
3D Printers are not simply plug and play, stand alone devices. Like a standard printer, they require computer programs to tell them what to do. The programs, called slicers, convert your instructions, or design, into G Code understood by the 3D Printer. Finding the right slicer for your needs can be a challenge, but when you find the right one, your designs will drastically improve.
A word of caution when using slicers, take your time learning each one. It will take more than just a few trials to get a smooth surface and if your model comes out bumpy, try adjusting the settings of your machine before discarding that particular slicer. Slicers are generally free, but there are some that require a nominal fee for their use. Find the one that works best for your machine and the materials used, and then stick with it. Jumping from one slicer to another will become confusing and complicated quickly.
Learning to produce high quality 3D Prints is a challenge, but like anything else, it has tremendous rewards when you figure out the process. When purchasing a 3D Printer, always look at reviews carefully as well as materials and features of the unit. Just because a machine has a specific high end feature does not mean it will produce high quality 3D Printed models each time. Take your time and learn your machine and never give up on your 3D Printed dreams. You can make your designs into a perfectly crafted 3D Printed model, so never give up.