Tips on More Successful 3D Printing
So, you’ve managed to find yourself a 3D printer that you like, software that you can use and understand enough to keep learning how to use, and you’ve even managed to find all your favourite 3D printing filaments. You’ve completed a few projects, and while you’re quite happy with them on the whole, you feel that they could be better.
That’s quite a normal stage to reach when you start out with 3D printing. It can seem quite simple at first, but then you hit a wall where you just can’t seem to get past a certain quality issue. Below are some tips that might be able to help you do more.
Tip 1: Practice Getting a Level Bed and Perfect Z Offset
One of the most fundamental things that can go wrong in any print is if the printing bed is off by even a small amount, or that the distance between the nozzle and the bed isn’t set at the best position. There is a manual method and an automated method to do this, and we suggest that you get familiar with both if you want to maximize your 3D printing skill.
For manual setting, use a piece of paper laid flat on the bed and then position the nozzle until you get the perfect Z offset (distance between nozzle and bed). Try the nozzle in a few locations on the paper to ensure that the bed is flat and that the distance is being maintained. That distance is the thickness of the paper. For automated methods, you can install a sensor to do the job for you through your printing software.
Tip 2: Improve Temperature Management
Another common error that can happen when trying to print taller and more complex objects is with temperature control. Hot new layers of filament that come in can start to melt the lower, earlier layers, which creates a deformity in the finished product. One way to get around this is to place a 1-cm cube in your slicer on the build plate’s opposite side. It will take away the heated nozzle for long enough to allow extra cooling time.
You also need to be mindful of the bed temperature. If you set it too high, you’ll get something that’s known as “elephant’s foot” where the lower part melts and expands.
Tip 3: Maintain the Printer Well
Unlike our conventional inkjet and laser printers, 3D printers do need a bit more care, and after each and every print. It’s critical that you know how to properly clean the printing bed, as well as the nozzles. On top of that, the 3D printer frame also needs to be solid in construction and not wobbling at all. If anything has come loose, make sure you tighten it up and keep everything solid and stable.
Tip 4: Observe Proper Handling of the Filament
Your printing filament is quite delicate stuff, in reality. You should take steps first to make sure that it is stored properly in a place with minimum moisture. If you’re serious, you should invest in proper 3D printing filament containers that will maintain the correct ambient temperatures and exclude any moisture.
When handling the filament for use in a printing job, you should also take great care. Filaments are, unfortunately, quite hydrophilic, meaning they take on water from the air. If you leave filament exposed to the air for too long, or it picks up moisture from your hands, that can transfer into the extrusion process and turn to steam, causing cracks and other problems in your finished item.