5 Things I Wish I Knew About 3D Printing When I Started
3D Printing is becoming more and more popular and more of us are getting into the craft. For some it comes easy, their first layer sticks and they’re good to go, for others its more of a trial and error thing and it ends up feeling like you’re spending more time and money than they had anticipated. So, we here at the 3D Printing Store have put together a list of 5 things that people should know as they join the 3D Printing community.
Getting your print to stick properly to the bed is a super important part of 3D Printing because if your print comes loose at any point during the print, your print is likely going to fail and waste your filament. There are dozens of ways to obtain proper adhesion so let’s look at a few:
A good 3D Printing surface rarely needs any added adhesion. We have noticed that the Creality printing surfaces work well on any printer, so that would be a good start.
Hair spray. No we are not joking, because of its consistency, hair spray works as great adhesion for 3D Printing, just cover the bed with 1 layer and you’re good to go.
ABS Juice. ABS juice is what we have found to be one of the best types of adhesion for ABS prints. This juice consists of 75g ABS pellets mixed with 500ml of acetone. Let them dissolve for about a day and then shake daily for another 2days, you will see the liquid will start getting a milk-like consistency. This ABS juice must be applied as a thin layer on the glass while the printer is still cold.
Rafts, Brims and Skirts
In your printing settings, you’ll notice the option to select a type of build plate adhesion and you typically have four options: Raft, Brim, Skirt or nothing. The build plate adhesion serves several purposes. Firstly they serve as time savers to give you a chance to make sure the filament is extruding properly before it begins on your actual model, saving you valuable time, material and money. If this is your main goal, I suggest using a skirt. The second purpose is to help your model stay put on the bed. A brim is excellent for this, because it adds several millimeters of filament around your model that attach to both the model. This helps to secure the model in place during printing. You can easily adjust how wide this brim is.
The third purpose is to ensure a flat surface for the print and to make it easy to remove it from the bed. A raft accomplishes this by building a thick layer underneath the model that the entire model sits on top of. This makes it easy to remove the model and helps ensure a flat first layer.
You can use different adhesion types at different times but the general rules are these: if you think warping may occur and your object takes up 25% or less of the bed, use a brim. If you’re concerned about warping or want to easily remove your object after it’s done, you aren’t concerned about the quality of the bottom layer, and your object takes up more than 25% of your bed, consider using a raft. Finally, if you’re not worried about warping and don’t need extra adhesion but want to be able to verify that the print starts off properly, use a skirt.
Support is just a way to make sure that layers that don’t touch the bed have something to build on when they’re ready to print. As an example, imagine 3D Printing letter C. Only one small area of the letter C would touch the print bed – the very bottom of it. The rest of it needs support because if you try to print it without support, it is essentially just trying to lay down filament in mid-air, which is not possible. It needs a layer to print on top off, and that is what support does. Support is typically easily removable and meant to last only as long as the print is in progress. Once the print is completed you should be able to break away the support and use a sharp blade to clean up any remaining trace of it.
The world of 3D printing is amazing and has endless possibilities. Whether you are making something practical functional like a prosthetic or drone parts, or even recreational tabletop models. One thing ties them all together, and this filament.
There are several different types of filament available on the market each varying in its intended use and composition, the most popular being PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU and Nylon. With so many different types of filament out there, it is extremely easy to get confused by which one is the appropriate one for your intended use. We have put together a simple Buyers Guide to the perfect filament that we sell.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is the most popular of all filaments. PLA is easy to print with, it has a lower printing temperature than ABS or PETG and it doesn’t easily warp, meaning you do not need to have a heated bed (although it helps) on your 3D printer. Because of its biodegradable nature, PLA is more environmentally friendly than most types of 3D printer filament.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) typically ranks as the second most popular 3D printer filament, after PLA. But that just means it is the second most commonly used. With respect to its material properties, ABS is moderately superior to PLA, despite being slightly more difficult to print with. ABS is tough – able to withstand high stress and temperature. It’s also moderately flexible.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most commonly used plastic in the world. Best known as the polymer used in water bottles, it is also found in clothing fibres and food containers. While “raw” PET is rarely used in 3D printing, its variant PETG is an increasingly popular 3D printer filament. The ‘G’ in PETG stands for “glycol-modified”, and the result is a filament that is brittle, and most importantly, easier to print with than its base form. For this reason, PETG is often considered a good middle ground between ABS and PLA.
As the name implies, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are essentially plastics with rubber-like qualities, making them extremely flexible and durable. As such, TPE is commonly used to produce automotive parts, household appliances, and medical supplies. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a variety of TPE and is itself a popular 3D printer filament. Compared to generic TPE, TPU is slightly more rigid – making it easier to print. It is also a little more durable and can better retain its elasticity in the cold.
Nylon, a popular family of synthetic polymers used in many industrial applications, is the heavyweight champion of the professional 3D printing world. Compared to most other types of 3D printer filament, it ranks as the number one contender when together considering strength and durability. The negative side to this is that nylon, like PETG, is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture, so remember to store it in a cool, dry place to keep the filament in prime condition, ensuring better quality prints.
Slicer settings can be daunting but getting them right is the difference between failed or a successful print. Check out retraction settings if you’re getting strings. Speed is a big deal. If layers are adjusting, or it’s doing a sloppy job, consider slowing down the speed to make it more accurate. The greater the speed, the higher the chance of failure. Play around with temperature settings for the bed and the hot end. Make sure they’re set according to what material you’re using. A good starting point for PLA is 220, and 60 for the bed. Adjust from there.
These are the 5 things, in no particular order, that most people waste their time on when starting 3D Printing. A good understanding of all these factors could save you a lot of time and money.