29 Sep 10 TOP TIPS FOR 3D PRINTING BEGINNERS
> 01. Get a good first layer
One of the most critical parts in 3D printing is getting a good first layer; this sets up a solid foundation for the rest of your model and can save problems later on in the print. To ensure a great first layer, ensure the nozzle is close enough to the print bed. Level the bed and get it close to the surface. Make sure you have an effective adhesion so the model sticks.
> 02. Check your quality settings
Unless you are 100% sure everything is perfect about your 3D print, when you print it for the first time, ensure the printer is set to the lowest quality setting. You don’t want to find out after hours of printing that an object is the wrong size.
> 03. Use the right materials
Make sure your printer’s profile is right for the plastic you are using as they will all require individual settings. For example, if you’re printing using ABS plastic, make sure you preheat your build platform to its maximum temperature as this will help prevent edge curling.
> 04. Check the callibration
Don’t assume your new 3D printer is calibrated correctly on delivery. Do the necessary checks before starting, such as testing for a level printing surface, proper clearance from the nozzle to the bed, the correct printer is configured in the software and the bed dimensions are set in the software. If any of these are out, it’ll be a waste printing.
> 05. Keep it clean
As with all machinery, the key to longevity is maintenance. Keeping your printer well-looked after will ensure perfect 3D prints and extend its lifespan. Remember to clean your build platform of old adhesive regularly to ensure the object you’re printing sticks properly. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of 3D printing.
> 06. Ensure your model is watertight
When creating a 3D print-ready model, it must be completely closed or watertight, as it is more commonly referred to. If you don’t do this before it is exported as an STL (standard tessellation language) file and it is found to have holes in or gaps, it will not be suitable for 3D printing.
> 07. Follow the 45 degree rule
Many 3D printers do not print with dissolvable support material so, where possible, you want to avoid support material all together. Overhangs that are greater than 45 degrees will need support material so keep layers within that measurement or cut up the design and print the cut parts as self supporting and assemble at a later date.
> 08. Remember, it’s HOT!
In order to actually do its job, the extruder nozzle on a 3D printer needs to melt the filament, meaning it can heat to above 180 degrees Celsius, a temperature that is more than capable of burning skin and melting other materials. We know using a 3D printer is exciting, but it can also be hazardous and always ensure the nozzle is cool before making any adjustments.
> 09. Keep your poly count low
The lower the poly count, the quicker things are going to be. Generating 3D printing files can be a lot quicker if your 3D model doesn’t contain any unnecessary polygons. If you are printing solid filled models, or hollow but closed structures where the internal structure is not visible, make sure the model has no unnecessary internal surfaces.
> 10. Remove supports carefully
This may seem pretty obvious but be careful to take your time when removing support material. Rushing this process could effectively ruin an otherwise flawless print. Don’t pull or use excessive force, and try using tools, such as a knife to score lines at connecting points to give a cleaner break.