General 3d printer tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Corrugated Plastic (Coro) & 3D Printing' started by AussiePhil, May 4, 2015.

  1. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    A general thread for 3D printer owners to place general tips and tricks that can make the experience better.

    I'll kick off with some points.

    1. Make sure the printer is place on a rock solid surface that doesn't move or vibrate. The printers themselves will vibrate an unstable table/desk and lead to irregular surface imperfections on the print.

    2. if your using a heat bed and printing ABS make sure the printer is not placed where there can be cold drafts. Constant or slowly changing temperatures are your friend.

    3. Bed levelling... make sure it is level and correctly set in relation to the print nozzles. I find that metal feeler gauges work far better than the normally suggested piece of paper.
     
  2. tuppetsdad

    tuppetsdad Funding & Tech Support

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    Good Idea Phil.


    Suggestion from me .... Don't by a Makerbot!
     
  3. Brownie

    Brownie I am new here

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    Would you mind elaborating please tuppetsdad and maybe provide a few lessons learned a things to look for when buying a 3D printer after having some experience with them as I was thinking of a Makerbot but you may change my mind now.

    Thanks,
    Brownie
     
  4. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    A few tips of the top of my head
    • If printing ABS (plastic that is similar to what lego is made of) then buy an enclosed 3D printer as temperature stability is important
    • Levelling is very important, too low and the plastic will stick to the plate making it very hard to remove, too high and the plastic will not stick and then you end up with parts that move and cause a plastic mess. There are new models now available that have a self levelling plate but at a price.
    • Consider a dual extruder as this allows you to use 2 different materials or colours and is great for using dissolvable support filliment when building complex designs that need support.
    • Choose a model that will run standalone via SD card or internal memory and not require a computer to run
    • Choose a good slicer program (the program that slices the 3D model into printing layer instructions) as this can save lots of build time. Most come with their own slicer software and they all vary. But there are 3rd party slicer programs like simplify3D which allow the user a great deal more control and ability in slicing their prints
    • When printing ABS then you may consider having the printer in a location that is well ventilated due to the odour given off from melted ABS
    I use a Flashforge Dreamer with Simplify3D software and have found it to be a great setup which has run 24/7 since easter without any issue, i was able to proto type some clips i needed from initial concept to final product all in 1 day and have now produced well over 400 clips, traditionally this would have taken months with back and forward with China and the cost of molds and modifications.

    3d printers will have a similar impact on society to what computers have had or mobile phones because now the average person can now design/build/repair things that once was not easily possible. It is going to be a very creative world we live in
     
  5. Devo

    Devo Apprentice Elf Community Project Designer

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    Great tips!
     
  6. OP
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    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    I'm interested in this as well as I don't like statements without reasons, we all have bad experiences with products but it doesn't make the entire brand/product line bad. if that was the case no one would buy LG as we all hated Goldstar rubbish :)

    I own a Flashforge Creator Pro (dual head). This and the Dreamer are largely makerbot clones but both Eddy and I are happy with the units we have.
    I have 1200 printing hours on mine now.
     
  7. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    3D printers still require some setup and tweeking to get best results and time should be spent getting to know what works and what doesnt. Setup and user mistakes can easily happen without being familiar with the printer and make for a really bad experience.
     
  8. OP
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    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    All 3D printers will ship with basic software, and in keeping with the original open source nature of the hobby most of the software will be free open source.

    To create designs you need some form of 3D design software, AutoCAD seems to be leading generally in the free to use stakes with the 123 Design suite and the online browser based TinkerCad.

    To print designs you need to "slice" the models and you will use "slicer" software. There are many alternatives out there.

    One product, Simplify3D is commercial software and costs US$149 with no trial available.
    If you are using one of the supported printers (see website) BUY IT. It will be the best investment you make in this journey.
     
  9. OP
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    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    More general tips.

    Just setting up.
    1. Print a calibration cube as per instructions with your printer, and measure accurately
    2. Something I found, print something thin about 150x100 and measure accurately, this will let you understand any percentage error in head movement on x/y axis
    3. Buy a Digital Calliper to do the above measurements.
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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  11. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Heres a tip
    If you can, build your own. Dont buy off the shelf.
    This way you'll get to know and understand what your doing.
    You'll be able to calibrate and adjust it alot easier as well.
    Not to mention the hours of fun you'll have learning and building :)


    For the record I use the following software.
    Repetier - Host
    Cura for slicing.
    OpenSCAD and FreeCAD for designing/drawing models
     
  12. OP
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    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Rod, good point for the more diy type members.

    another option is buy an off the shelf one and then build a bigger one from printed parts, it is what I plan to do next year.
     
  13. multicast

    multicast Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    Yeah. Don't buy a makerbot. Piece of junk. inaccurate, constantly trying to fix it.
     
  14. tuppetsdad

    tuppetsdad Funding & Tech Support

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    That's two out of two suggest you don'y want to be a third one!


    We have a Makerbox 2x and it is just a source of frustration as poorly made and very flaky. Have had for nearly a year and extruders constantly fail, it does not maintain the build platten level as the machine geometry moves around too much with temperature changes. The build platten was not flat (out 0.1 mm) and with very little use various bit fell off. Makerbot support was good in that they replied to complaints but very poor in that they just think having to constantly adjust and modify things is normal so in the end I got pretty angry with them.


    Makerware software is very limited in what you can do and it does not have any tools for cleaning up stl and other files. Some things you need to learn by trial and error - such as if you try to print a section less than 1.5mm thick the program produced is crap.


    When you try to build parts which are bigger than a build height of about 25mm it virtually always fails with the extruder clogging intermittently (even when you clean it a lot).


    really over this machine and this company 8)
     
  15. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Best thing I did for mine was to add Auto Bed leveling. :)
    Reduced initial setup time considerably.
     

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