You got yourself a 3D printer, and your software is up and ready. But before you make your first print here are a few tools you need to make working with them smooth.
3D printing is one of the newest ways DIYers, builders, and some manufacturers, have adapted into constructing items. For manufacturers, it is the most cost-effective way to make rapid prototypes and molds of pieces that require a higher grade of material to make. For builders and DIYers, it is a faster way to create unique pieces that you need for a project.
But 3D printing requires a few other tools besides the printer, the software, and a computer, to get the best prints. Learning a few tips and tricks for this blog post, we have compiled a list of a few tools you’ll need to get the best prints every time. While also keeping your workspace clean and tidy.
Tools Besides the Printer
Obviously, the first thing you will need in the process of 3D printing is the printer itself. But this isn’t a buying guide on what printers to get, but if you are looking for one we have a great selection of opens in a new windowDremel 3D printers. I digress. The point of this post is for the first timer to the novice to get some advice on tools to make the learning process of using your new printer much easier. These tools will cover from removing your prints from the printing surface, cleaning up molds and models, and maintenance of the printer itself. So without further adieu, let’s get to the tools.
A chisel or a scrapper will be one of the tools that you have right next to your printer. Now depending on the project and the material you are using your choice of which one to use might change. For sturdy objects, like figures or anything that has tight layers you would prefer a chisel. If you made a cookie cutter or something more fragile, a scraper is better suited to lift the item without breaking or ruining the mold. But both will make extracting your 3D model easy without worrying about destroying it by using your bare hands.
You will need these by your printer because you will always be adjusting. From the gantry screw and the stepper motor, you’ll find yourself using these quite often. But it would be best to have assortment laying around and maybe a spare or two in case they do have to move around.
Blue Painters Tape is an item that will make maintaining your printer easier. The tape will make any object printed stick to the surface better. Then after the print is complete, the tape will make removing the completed printer faster and protect the bed from scratches when extracting.
When buying tape the phrase, “bigger is always better” comes to mind. Getting tape with a width of at least two inches (50 mm) or more will cover the area of the print bed you would be using. Making the clean-up and maintenance easier, especially if you plan on printing often.
Usually the final step, you would use this for smoothing the surface of your print from any hanging or protruding filament. So depending on how fine the finish you want you will need an assortment of pads of different grits. If you are unfamiliar with sanding, you start with the lowest grit and slowly build your way up to a higher number for a smoother finish.
Let us know if you would a full article on sanding and going into greater detail on how?
Digital Calipers are used to get accurate measurements for your projects and builds. Accurate measurements are crucial while making plans. If you are off even by an eighth of an inch, your project will suffer from uneven edges and wasted material.
When printing you have to get things to closest one-tenth, if not one-hundredth of an inch, to get great prints. Having digital calipers will get you those measurements consistently. With jaws made with different functions, you can easily measure the length of an object as well the size of any gaps it may have.
Use Needle Nose Pliers before printing begins. When you start a fresh print you nozzle will ooze out any leftover filament from its last use. Before the filament hits the printing surface, you would need to snip any ooze coming out. If not removed before the print your base layer will be inconsistent to the rest and will have structural weak points.
Having this tool sitting by your printer will not only save your product but can be used to snip any long strands of sticking out from the print.
The hobby knife is a refining and cleaning tool for your prints. Usually one of the last steps on your print before sanding. The knife gets into corners where the sandpaper and pliers might not be able to reach, as well as adding in detail on projects. If your print has any holes needed in the design and you don’t want to risk breaking it with the needle nose pliers, this is your best tool.
Another tool for cleaning up prints. You use this for any project or mold that has curves or is hollow on the inside. 3D models that have any spherical shape to them or excessive curves would need this tool for a final clean up. A reaming pen would be better compared to the pliers or the hobby knife as those two tools might not be able to adapt to curved edges of the print and could potentially ruin them.
Now Get Printing
With these tools, you can make sure your printer will be working at optimal efficiency while getting the best prints. So get to printing to whatever your heart desires, within reason, and make that action figure of yourself that you always wanted. If you are looking for a printer, we have a few options at Acme Tools that you can check out and get to work soon.
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