Caring And Maintaining A 3D Printer

  1. Clean the build plate
    Usually, glue is applied to build a plate to prevent print warping when taking 3D prints. The glue can however end up attracting foreign particles and molten plastic, interfering with the prints because of the irregular surface. Therefore, make a habit of cleaning the plate after each print. You can do this by dipping a clean cloth in warm water and gently wiping the plate.
  2. Choose the right filament for the project
    Filament placement causes printing problems in 3D and you therefore need to be careful how you choose and handle the filament. Before loading the material, unwind spool to check for kinks and knots that can lead to jams. It is also best that you stick to the filament recommended by the printer manufacturer to enjoy a smooth printing experience every time.
  3. Keep the X and Y axis lubricated
    The axis is in continuous motions during the printing process. It moves along printer head and as dust gets deposited on rods the lubrication fades, making the axis stiffer reducing performance in the process. To ensure that the motion is smooth throughout, make sure that you clean the rods off dust and lubricate using oil. You can manually move to check that lubrication is on point before using the printer. The Z axis should also be lubricated with grease or solid lubricant to sustain it.
  4. Ensure the firmware is always updated
    This is very essential especially for businesses that rely on 3D printing. Firmware updates ensure that you have the latest software and printing features so you can achieve high quality productions every time. You can keep up with the latest by checking manufacturer website on a regular basis for any upgrades and update announcements. If you have a printer that is WIFI enabled, then you will enjoy automatic downloads and installations of updates on cloud basis.
  5. Keep the extruder clean
    This is where the filament passes through during the printing process and it is possible for material to wear off leaving particles on the rollers. Such sticky messes can change roller geometry and make any more extrusions improper. It is therefore of importance to make sure that the extruder especially the rollers are clean. A toothbrush can be used for easy cleaning so the extruder functional smoothly and provides the expected quality prints.
  6. Tighten pulley screws
    They can become loose because of vibrations from continuous motions of X and Y axis. They can lead to misaligned system and reduced quality, hence it helps to ensure they remain tight.

Things to Consider Before Buying A 3D Printer

Types of 3D printers

3D printers use state-of-the-art technologies that help you produce physical things. Among all the printers, FDM, which is short for Fused Deposition Modeling, is the most popular. FDM creates a model by heating and forcing out plastic. These printers are easy to find.

Aside from this, the Selective Laser Sintering and Stereolithography are the two other types of 3D printing machines, but they are a lot more expensive.

Custom-built Printers

Building your own 3D printer may cost less, especially if you have a lot of spare time. But if you don’t have the time and skills to build one, you can go for a pre-assembled printer. However, if you need one to start your hobby as soon as possible, go ahead and buy one from the market.

Price

The price of a 3D printer varies based on several factors, such as the quality of the output. Generally, the quality printers may cost as much as $1000. However, the professional machines may cost more than $2000. But if you are just staring out, we suggest that you go for a simple model that won’t cost you more than $100.

Materials

For printing in 3D, two materials are required: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Poly Lactic Acid. Both of the materials get soft when heated, but solidify when the temperature drops. The cost of a spool is under $50.

Before you choose a material, make sure you know what the final product should look like. Aside from this, it is also important to note that not all printers will accept both types of the material.

Safety

Safety should be your first priority when it comes to using a good 3D printer. You need to take a few precautions. 3D printers produce a lot of heat when printing an object. So, make sure you don’t burn yourself. Aside from this, the machine may emit fumes that may be toxic. Lastly, make sure you use only food-grade plastic for the printer.

Quality

If you want to produce quality printed products with your printer, make sure you take into account two things: print speed and resolution. Actually, print resolution is the degree of detail the machine can produce. Usually, it is in microns. The smaller the microns are the higher the resolution of the object will be. The print speed of the machine measures the speed of the extruder. However, the speed of the machine will be affected by many factors.