Are you a 3d printing enthusiast looking to get the most out of your printer? If so, then this post is for you. Here I will reveal my top ten tips for 3d printing, no matter what level of experience or type of machine you have. From understanding STL files and how they work with your slicer software through calibration and maintaining your parts, knowing these basics (as tricky as some may seem) for achieving reliable and accurate results every time pays off. So read on to learn my secrets for better 3d prints!
You can get the right 3d Printer for your needs.
Believe it or not, choosing the right 3d printer for your needs can be about something other than size. Bigger does not mean better when it comes to 3d printing; many small format machines can still produce finely detailed models with minimal post-processing. If you’re a DIYer looking to tackle advanced projects, you may want to look into features such as an all-metal hot end, bed-leveling (ABL), and multiple materials! But watch out: these features often require extra calibration and setup research. So before investing in a bigger machine or advanced features, consider what features you need for your use case and check out some 3D printer ideas for beginners.
Use high-quality filament.
One of the most important tips for 3d printing is quality control. Quality control is paramount for successful 3D prints, and using high-quality filament is the first step. Filament absorbs moisture from the air, which can lead to stringing and bubbling as it passes through the hot end. Take extra time to store your filament in a dry box, or use a filament dryer to make sure that your filament is hygroscopic before printing. For best results, weigh filament before each print job to know exactly how much you need and avoid wastage. Make sure you look for high-quality filaments, as this will reduce warping issues within your prints, leading to superior-quality 3D models every time!
Level the build plate.
Leveling your build plate correctly is essential for producing uniform 3D prints. Manual Bed Leveling uses knobs at the base of your printer to align the build plate. For many casual 3d printer users, this is all you need.
An upgrade from this would be Auto Bed Leveling which uses a sensor to detect irregularities in the build plate surface before each print starts and make adjustments based on this data. It provides more accurate bed leveling and eliminates the constant checking required with manual bed leveling.
Auto bed leveling systems are best at making minor adjustments. Even with an auto bed leveling system, you must manually level your print bed.
Calibrate the Z offset properly.
One of the most important things for a successful 3D print is setting the Z offset correctly. The Z offset on your printer controls the distance between the nozzle and the build plate, affecting your printed object's first layer. To ensure that you have consistent and accurate prints, it is essential to calibrate your Z offset regularly. This can be done by following one of the many tutorials online and making slight adjustments until you get a perfect bed-leveling test result.
With a well-calibrated machine, you will produce better prints with fewer inconsistencies.
Print bed adhesive is your friend.
Print bed adhesives can be the best friend of any 3D printer user. Whether you're a hobbyist, DIY professional, or just getting started with 3D printing, print bed adhesives are essential to ensure successful prints. Magigoo and DimaFix are two popular adhesives that have proven helpful in creating a solid bond between your 3D-printed object and the build plate. Both products reduce waste due to failed prints and provide smoother, higher-resolution models regardless of the material you are using. No matter what kind of 3D printer you own, keep these top tips for 3d printing in mind – print bed adhesive is your friend!
Calibrate extruder steps and nozzle temperature.
A consistently good 3D print requires more than good models and slicer settings. To get the most out of your 3d printer and get the best quality print, it's essential to ensure that the extruder steps are appropriately calibrated, and the nozzle temperature is correctly set. A basic calibration setup should include PID calibration; this enables you to control temperatures within +/- 1-degree accuracy precisely. With accurate temperature regulation comes better flow rate consistency and better material bonding between layers, resulting in higher-resolution prints than ever before. So don’t forget to calibrate those extruder steps and nozzle temperature for optimal performance!
It pays to slow down.
It can be tempting to rush through your 3d printed project, but it pays to slow down when it comes to optimal results. Cura's minimum layer time feature is there for a good reason—high-speed layer times can result in poorer quality prints, with weakened layers and visible warping or filament spools. When the printer runs slower, you'll get a better top surface finish and improved layer strength. Taking the extra few minutes to allow the printer's minimum layer time can make all the difference in producing a consistent and robust end product!
Clean the nozzle regularly.
Regular maintenance of your 3D printer's nozzle ensures successful prints and is one of the more integral tips for 3d printing. If the nozzle isn’t regularly cleaned and checked, it could become clogged or jammed up, leading to poorly printed objects. Fortunately, it’s a quick and easy process! For DIYers, hobbyists, and professionals, use a soft metal brush to scrap off any hardened plastic that has built up around the nozzle. After that, use compressed air to blow away residue. Do not attempt to remove handing filament with a side cutter as it is easy to damage the soft brass nozzles on many 3d printers. Instead, if you are having trouble removing filament stuck to the nozzle, heat it up and then try again.
Taking care of your 3D printer's nozzle will save time, stress, and money in the long run - so don't forget this vital step!
Your freezer is a 3d printing tool.
For all those who have struggled with PLA prints adhering to the print bed and won't come off, the freezer can be your best friend! To free up your prints, try lowering the print bed temperature below 20c. This will make it much easier to take off your prints without hurting them. If cooling the bed with a fan doesn't work, place the whole print bed into a freezer for 5-10 minutes, and then try removing your model again. The cold temperature should provide enough shrinkage of plastics for you to get that stuck model off quickly! Don't let difficult PLA prints frustrate you – use the power of the freeze in those moments of desperation.
3d printers require routine maintenance.
Nothing ruins a 3D printing project quicker than a malfunctioning printer. To avoid costly downtime, 3D Printer owners must stay on top of basic routines and maintenance. Essential items to check regularly include belts, gears, wheels, and the z-axis screw. It may sound intimidating, but with the help of online guides and tutorials, taking proper care of your 3D Printer can help you save time, money, and other resources in the long run. So don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and take proactive steps - these are essential skills for any DIYer or professional looking to get the best performance out of their machines.
3d printers are tools, not microwaves.
3d printers are not microwave ovens. Do not expect to pull a 3d printer out of a box and start printing perfect prints. All 3D prints start with a good printer setup and the proper materials. Perfect your workflow, and you'll print better models quickly. From understanding the nuances of the build plate leveling process to using cooling strategies for particularly tricky parts, all these tips for 3d printing will help you create better prints. Don’t forget that consistent maintenance is also crucial for consistently great 3D prints.
We suggest setting aside regular service time and tuning your printer; this can be as simple as lubing your filament feeder monthly for optimal filament flow! And lastly, when all else fails - think outside of the box! Use freezer tricks or other off beat methods to get your models off the print surface intact. If you want more help improving your 3D prints, head to the MakeWithTech YouTube channel, where we’ve got many more tips for 3d printing and tricks like these!