3D printing technology, especially home 3D printing technology, is still new so it’s normal for you to run into challenges when it comes to operating your printer at the beginning and getting the results you want. For that reason, it’s best to take the process slow and learn as you go. You won’t know everything right away – that will come with time – so make sure you have lots of patience and lots of time to dedicate to 3D printing.
Of course, the more you print, the better you will get, and the fewer challenges you will run into. To help you get started on your 3D printing journey, we’ve put together a list of six tips about 3D printing for beginners. These tips will help you navigate the challenges that lay ahead:
1. Setup Your Printer According to the Manufacturer’s Instructions
It’s imperative that when you initially set up your printer that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully. Skipping a step or overlooking one part of the process could create a huge headache for you down the road. For example, there are usually restraining straps and/or brackets that come with your printer that need to be removed. Just make sure that you pay close attention and you’ll be fine.
2. Get to Know Your Printer
Like we mentioned above, 3D printing is new, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to get to know your new printer before you attempt to start printing something. Start by testing out all of the different settings on your printer. For example, try printing different shapes with different settings. These 3D printing tips for beginners will help you start to understand your printer. It’s recommended not to change your materials around too much in the beginning.
Stick with a few and start incorporating more as you get more comfortable. Remember that 3D printers are complex machines that run complex programs that produce complex objects. Know what you’re up against and know that mistakes are going to be a part of it. The more you play around with your machine and the more you print, the better you will get at it, so have faith and keep practicing.
3. Make Sure Your Printing Axes Are Properly Calibrated
Once you’ve become a bit more familiar with using your 3D printer, make sure your printing axes are properly calibrated. This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of potential problems before you start printing.
To shed a bit of light on why this is so important, here’s a bit of background knowledge: 3D printers operate on three axes – the x axe which is responsible for moving the print assembly left and right, the y-axis which is responsible for moving the assembly backwards and forwards, and the z-axis which is responsible for moving the assembly up and down.
In particular, the calibration of the z-axis is very important when it comes to printing. If, for example, the z-axis is too high or too low, you’ll start to encounter problems like insufficient adhesion to the print surface, smearing or your print material and clogging of the print nozzle. So, before you even start printing, make sure all of the axes are calibrated properly and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
4. Use High-Quality Printing Materials
If you’re going to 3D print something, invest in high-quality printing filament. Not all printing filament is high-quality so pay attention to which kind you’re buying. Some filament contains impurities that cause inconsistent melting, resulting in inconsistent extrusion while printing. The better the printing filament you use, the higher your chances of printing successfully and encountering fewer problems.
5. Reach Out to the 3D Printing Community
Now that you have a 3D printer and you’ve started on your 3D printing journey, join 3D printing groups and become a member of the community. This way, whenever you encounter a problem, you have other people like yourself that you can turn to for help.
Reading forums regularly will give you tips and tricks that will make things even easier for you. You will have 3D printing buddies that can be a constant source of knowledge and support. You’ll never feel alone when you have a whole community eager to help you. Finding solutions to problems will be even easier because chances are someone else has encountered the same problem as you.
6. Focus on Design
Design is at the core of 3D printing. It’s normal to use designs created by other people in the beginning, but as you get more comfortable with 3D printing, start to design your own objects. There are a bunch of programs that you can access that make designing your own objects easy. You’ll be so excited when you print your first 3D object created entirely by you!
Now that you know these 3D printing tips for beginners, you’re all set to get started with your 3D printing journey! Good luck and have fun!