The 3D printing technology can be very hard to get the hang of, and it’s normal for you to run into challenges when it comes to operating your printer in the beginning. Without expert guidance, most people will not be able to get reliable and repeatable results.
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To help you get started on your 3D printing journey, here are 6 tips that going to help you navigate the challenges that lay ahead:
Know your Printer
Before using a 3D Printer, keep in mind that 3D printers are complex machines that run complex programs and produce complex objects, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to get to know your new printer before you attempt to start printing something. Just a few 3D Printers around the world are able to give mind-blowing results. Click here to view the Stratasys 3D Printers R&D Technologies sells. It’s recommended to start by testing out all of the different settings on your printer, for example, try printing different shapes with different settings, as simple as it is, the more you print, the better you will get at it, so have faith and keep practicing.
Calibrating the 3D Printer
Once you’ve become a bit more familiar with using your 3D printer, make sure your printing axes are properly calibrated. This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of potential problems before you start printing. You cannot even print The Blob to the right dimensions if you don’t have your 3D printer calibrated properly. The calibration of the 3D printer is important because it has a direct bearing on its accuracy. Without proper calibration, you might see layers being out of sync or even weird shapes. To shed a bit of light on why this is so important, here’s a bit of background knowledge: 3D printers operate on three axes – the x-axis which is responsible for moving the print assembly left and right, the y-axis which is responsible for moving the assembly backward and forwards, and the z-axis which is responsible for moving the assembly up and down. In particular, the calibration of the z-axis is very important when it comes to printing. If, for example, the z-axis is too high or too low, you’ll start to encounter problems like insufficient adhesion to the print surface, smearing or your print material and clogging of the print nozzle. So, before you even start printing, make sure all of the axes are calibrated properly and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
For more complex and sophisticated machines, it is recommended to consult a 3D printing technical expert. Click here to contact our technical support specialists.
Acquiring and Designing 3D Models
Without the right software, 3D printing would remain a distant dream. Naturally, if you want to 3D print a part, you have to have a 3D model of that part. While it is true that you need a specialized printer that can create 3D objects, you also need a variety of essential software that can be used to design the actual model and get it into a format that the printer can recognize. It’s normal to use designs created by other people in the beginning, however, most beginners don’t have the skills required to use such professional software. If that’s the case, don’t worry, because there are other solutions. For starters, there are simpler CAD software options, such as TinkerCad, a simple program that almost anyone can use without any prior experience. It’s an online app designed by Autodesk, one of the industry’s leading CAD (computer-aided design) software creators. You’ll be so excited when you print your first 3D object created entirely by you!
Use High-Quality Printing Materials
The world of 3D printing is quite fascinating, but it certainly has its pitfalls - like selecting the wrong materials. Of course, getting 3D printing quality depends on the hardware used but also on the materials. It is common to see failed 3D prints due to the use of the wrong filament, so If you’re going to 3D print something, invest in high-quality printing filament or resin. Not all printing filament is high-quality so pay attention to which kind you’re buying. Some filament contains impurities that cause inconsistent melting, resulting in inconsistent extrusion while printing.
The better the printing filament or resin you use, the higher your chances of printing successfully and encountering fewer problems. In addition to that choice, a bad 3D printer filament can damage your printer. Moreover, time is as precious as money, so don’t waste either.
Stratasys is the leading manufacturer of the highest quality printing materials, so be sure to check out our wide range of products. Please note, Stratasys materials are only suitable for use on Stratasys machines.
Regardless if you use 3D printer for home purposes, or it’s a part of your job, the most important thing to know, besides how to work the machine of course, is how to properly secure and store your 3D printing filament or resin. Storage for filaments is an important aspect of 3D printing, especially if you have several spools lying around. If the spools are left, say, on a desk for a while, dust and moisture settles in and could potentially ruin the filament properties. There are plenty of filament containers on the market, as well as vacuum bags for filaments. All these products prevent the filaments from getting dusty and filled with moisture. If you look after it, it will look after your 3D printing. Most of the printing materials you purchase will have a shelf life; it is not recommended to use any materials past the expiration date.
Maintaining Your Printer and Filament
If you’re an expert or a beginner, a clogged nozzle or jammed extruder can make your 3D printing experience terrible. Although cleaning this equipment can be very boring and unexciting, like every piece of machinery, a 3D printer also requires regular maintenance and care for it to be able to function flawlessly. Therefore in order to keep your machine in the best condition possible there are several tasks you should perform every now and then:
- Nozzle Cleaning One of the most common reasons for faulty printing is a clogged nozzle or extruder. It is important to inspect the nozzle or extruder after every print job to maintain a clean environment for your print head.
- Bed Cleaning It’s always a good idea to wipe the print bed with a cotton wipe and some Simple Green after printing. In case there are some left over parts of your model, you want to ensure a clean and even surface for your next job.
- Stray Filament Collection:Most printers “drool” a little to prime the extruder before starting on the first layer, but this leaves a strand of filament drifting in the build chamber. Pick these up and throw them out when they start to accumulate.
Now that you know these 3D printing tips, you’re all set to get started on your 3D printing journey Remember, every print is an opportunity to learn something and improve the quality of the next! Whether you are designing for yourself or to share with others, we hope you found these tips helpful.
This post was created by Pick3dPrinter.com and edited by R&D Technologies.