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If you are the new owner of a 3D printer or maybe in thoughts of buying one, a  new world of learning and discovery is opening up to you. There is many lessons and new skills that you will learn in the coming weeks and months.

Our tips that follows is the most basic ones and will hopefully help you get started.

Some tips along the way.

  • If your platform isn’t leveled it will cause you many headaches during your prints, so this is something you want to monitor closely. You can always check the platform using “the paper test”. Just use a single sheet of paper to determine the extruder nozzles height over your build platform. Most printers have a built in level sequence that you can follow but the result should be the same, the piece of paper should just touch the tip of the extruder in all four corners and in the middle.
  • Keep your platform clean! Use rubbing alcohol to remove dirt and oil that comes from your hands because if you don’t, your prints will not stick to the platform.
  • When you are using ABS – always make sure to preheat your platform to at least 110°c, this will prevent your edges to curle and also make the ABS stick better to the platform.
  • When using PLA – which doesn’t require a heated platform you must use some other type of material to make your print stick. We often use ordinary painter’s tape, this is cheaper and, in most cases, better when it comes to PLA printing.
  •  If you are using a heated bed, Kapton tape is the best choice, the material of Kapton tape from 3D Prima can withstand the heating and cooling cycles better than painter´s tape.
  • Have you encountered the frustration of your prints not sticking to the platform? Try using ordinary hair spray (extra strong), you will see a much better adhesion between the printed object and the platform.
  • If you are printing an object for the first time, do so with the lowest settings on the printer – you do not want to discover after 10 hours in high quality printing that your printed object is 1mm too small!
  • Make sure that you know your filaments, besides ABS and PLA there is a wide range of different filaments with different characteristics when it comes to melting temperature, extruding speed and if you should use a heated bed or not. In our filament section you can always get information about your specific filament characteristics or you can visit the manufacturer’s site, they always have updated information.

Some glossary from the 3D printing world

  • What is a “slicer”? A so-called slicer takes a3D drawing (most often in .STL format) and translates this model into individual layers. It then generates the machine code that the printer will use for printing.
  • G-Code – The common name for the most widely used computer numerical control (CNC) programming language, which has many implementations. Used mainly in automation, it is part of computer-aided engineering, G-Code is a language in which people tell computerized machine tools what to make and how to make it. The “what” and “how” are mostly defined by instructions on where to move, how fast to move, and through what path to move.
  • STL files – Standard Tessellation Language or Stereo Lithography, STL is a file format native to the CAD software created by 3D Systems.  This file format is supported by many other software packages and is widely used for rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing. If you visit Thingiverse.comyou candownload Stl – files that others has done and the just print them, easy.
  • Raft? This is an expression that you will encounter along the way many times. A raft is there to make adhesion better and is larger than your actual print, it also provides stability and your print is built on the raft, which you remove once the print is made.
  • Support material? When you have a model with some overhang or some gaps you’ll need to apply some support. With SIMPLIFY3D you can do this very easy (read more here). The support material can after the print is finished be removed very easily.

More tips & tricks will follow, so make sure to drop in from time to time. And hey – don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

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