Everybody makes mistakes, but if you operate a 3D printer, you’re guaranteed to make quite a few. Even the most technically adept people can end up with a bad print because of these common mistakes to avoid in 3D printing. Review the following and learn from others people’s mistakes so you can (hopefully!) avoid your own.
Setting the Bed Level Height
For starters, the best way to avoid mistakes is to read the manual. Even if you have experience with other 3D printers, read the manual and get to know the ins, outs, and quirks of the machine you’re working with. You’ll learn about minor adjustments that can make major differences down the line—such as setting the bed level height. You need to ensure the nozzle is at the right distance from the print bed and that it’s on the level. Otherwise, if that first layer is faulty, they’ll all be faulty. Imagine your frustration after hours of printing pass only to discover everything is wonky in the final print. Learn how to adjust the four springs in the corners to ensure you get a clean, even, and level print.
Sometimes, as the filament is drawn from its spool, one loop manages to cross over another. Although the filament can eventually detangle itself, occasionally the process fails and the filament knots up. As the filament is drawn through, it can clog up the works, get detached, and cause your extruder to run dry, ruining the job. The extruder must be cleaned extensively, and the feeder must get reset. When you’re ready to start again, pay attention to the print job and keep tension at the end of the filament line.
Picking the Wrong Materials
If you aren’t familiarizing yourself with what you can use to create your prints, you’re printing blind. Some materials can enhance the look, beauty, and strength of a print while others don’t. Make sure your materials work well with your printer and the job at hand. Most 3D printer plans clearly define which materials to use. Follow the instructions—if not, you’ll only be disappointed as your projects end up fragile, broken, or poorly rendered.
One of the more common mistakes to avoid in 3D printing is stringing, which is just what it sounds like. Your print is unattractively festooned with thin threads of plastic or whatever material you’re using. Often caused by filament leaking out of the nozzle because of overly elevated temperatures, stringing can be stopped by adjusting the heat. Experiment with different temperatures until you discover how to keep those unsightly webs of plastic from appearing.
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