9 Best 3D Printing Tips for Beginners

The 3D printer industry has topped $7 billion, and analysts say there is plenty more room to grow. This is evident in our appetite for the newest and greatest next big thing. But is there a lot to know about 3D printing for the novice? Let’s just say that you cannot just hand over a first-generation 3D printer to your six-year-old niece or your 66-year-old grandfather.

Here are nine 3D printing tips that beginners need to know:

Tip #1: Become Acquainted with Your 3D Printer

Because 3D printing technology is groundbreaking and exciting, it is easy to get caught up in the phenomenon and start trying to print right away. The main issue, however, is that it still an intricate process and is not as simple as your document printer (not yet anyway!), so it does require you to become familiar with the machine.

Otherwise, you risk getting frustrated and disgruntled, proceeding to toss in the dumpster or pull an Office Space – baseball bat and all.

Tip #2: Test Your Printer with 20mm Cubes

After getting to know your 3D printer, it would be prudent to test your printer, too. You do not want to start printing off all these elaborate designs and then learn that there is missing part, a malfunctioning component, or you inserted the wrong code. This will only wreak havoc.

The simple solution is to run a few tests, mainly with 20mm cubes. By doing this, you know it is in great working condition or there may be some refinement needed to remedy a problem.

Tip #3: Monitor the Nozzle Temperature

The temperature of the nozzle is paramount for your 3D printer. Indeed, the temperature immediately and directly impacts the appearance of the print. Remember, if it is too hot then it will leave filament strings; if it is too cold then will be insufficient.

You need to find a goldilocks zone, which can be found in the instruction manual.

Tip #4: Keep Track of Adjustment and Maintenance

Maintenance and adjustment are key to continually ensure high-quality prints. The concern, however, is that as you optimize your printer, you might make the mistake of moving the gantry that it is not the same height on each side. Or, there might be wobbling anywhere in the frame.

Moving forward, you need to monitor any adjustments and maintenance, even if it is just lubricating the rails. The worst thing that could happen is that you may need to reset it to the manufacturer’s settings, which might require the professional expertise from the source.

Tip #5: Be Careful When Treating Filament

It is true that 3D printer filaments are attracted to water and absorbs all of the air in its immediate vicinity. When the filament is exposed to the moisture and dampness, it results in hiccups, such as popping and cracking through the nozzle. The final product looks rough and unfinished.

A common trick that the experts employ is to dry the spool of filament in the oven at a low temperature for two to four hours. Or, you can store your spools in plastic bins with dividers in between each one.

Tip #6: Close the Printer’s Gaps

Are you printing something with minuscule detail that the naked eye cannot see? Well, if that is the case then you need to close the printer’s gaps and ensure that the speed is not too high (see below). If the filament is being extruded, then you can put forward small revisions by increasing the rate by .01. Once you do this, run a test.

Tip #7: Don’t Feel the Need for Speed

This harkens back to the excitement we previously mentioned. Because you are ebullient over your new 3D printer, you want to start printing everything you possibly can. In addition to not reading over the instruction manual, you are putting the printer on full speed. Bad idea.

Unfortunately, speeding up a print will produce inferior effects and cause wear and tear on your printer almost immediately. Instead, you want to be patient and use an appropriate level of speed to print

Tip #8: Invest in Your Skills

Instead of adopting a cheat sheet and doing whatever some random 3D printing website tells you, it would be a good idea to invest in your skills. Even if it is one or two hours a week, you can home your computer-aided design (CAD) skills.

You might not want to spend an enormous amount of money on this, so you can always educate yourself by taking advantage of free courses on websites like Udemy or use open-source software.

Tip #9: Never Anticipate Perfect Prints

Is 3D printing technology perfect? Not yet. So, why should you expect every print to be perfect? You should never expect an immaculate 3D print because you will only set yourself up for disappointment and may think the technology is broken. In other words, don’t think you will be 3D printing a rocket to the stars in your living room.

It is truly remarkable how much we have achieved this century, from smartphone technology to global communications to rocket technology to 3D printing. But we are in the infancy stages of 3D printing, and it is still being perfected. Until then, appreciate the technology you have, take the necessary precautions, and do not shoot for the stars.

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