3D printing technology has many applications across various industries. This additive manufacturing technique is used for printing parts and prototyping. The process involves laying down the filament, layer by layer, until the desired model takes form. The model is designed digitally using CAD software and then ran through another application called a slicer. There is a wide range of filaments that can be used to print the models. The quality of the print depends on many factors, and this article will highlight the best ways you can get a reliable print from your machine.
9 Ways You Can Get a Reliable Print
1. Bed Adjustment and Nozzle Height
The simplest way to boost your print quality is by setting the height of the nozzle and leveling the print bed. Most printers already have recommended space between nozzle and bed. In case it is off, a piece of paper or a feeler gauge might help in reducing the gap. The paper or gauge must slide beneath the nozzle after it is placed appropriately. No force is necessary to insert it under the nozzle. This procedure has to be repeated three or more times to make sure that it is working.
2. Monitor Nozzle Temperature
The temperature of the nozzle can impact the quality of your print. When it is hot, it will result in strings spread across spaced parts. In taller prints, the layers at the top would melt and deform the resultant print. Insert a small, one cm block on the side of the build plate that is on the opposite side of the item getting printed. It will allow the nozzle temperature to go down. You may use a wall or a shielding structure if filament strings appear between the printed materials, which are available in the slicer applications.
3. Switching Build Plates to Diversify Effects
Another one of the best ways to get a reliable print is by switching print beds. Different build beds produce diversified textures on the piece. Print plate materials like Kapton tape, glass, and PEI tend to result in a smooth outer surface. Polycarbonate sheets or painter's tape give the pieces a matte look. If you plan on using adhesive or spray on the outside surface, it should only cover the area of the plate. The object is deformed by using excessive paint or glue and causes dents. It makes the removal process of the item tricky, and by pushing it off, the object can get disfigured and damage the plate. You can experiment and test to figure the best approach to make a print surface that goes well with your model.
4. Get a Reliable Print by Maintenance and Adjustments
Each 3D printer has attributes and techniques that can enhance print quality. Printer maintenance is a must to get optimal results. The rails should be lubricated and cleaned regularly. In case your printer has stepper motors, the gantry has to be leveled on both sides. You should ensure that the frame does not have any weak spots. Secure the bolts and keep up with the firmware updates in accordance with the guidelines of the manufacturer.
5. Carefully Handle Filaments
One of the ways to get a reliable print is by taking care of filaments. Filaments are hydrophilic, which means that they absorb moisture from the atmosphere. It can cause problems during the printing process. When the damp filament is heated during the extrusion, the water escapes, and the filament expands. The filament will resultantly pop or crackle when the moisture evaporates, often accompanied by smoke. Filaments can be dried by keeping them in the oven at low temperature for some time. Some users place the filaments in heated bins before using them, to get rid of any moisture.
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6. Using Slicer Correctly
A 3D printer prints the item following the instructions fed by a slicer. Most of these applications are free. The fine quality or hyper settings of slicer can be adjusted if the print quality is not good. Although this may impede the printing process, it will enhance maneuver the print quality. However, avoid modifying the slicer settings following low-quality prints. Assess the issue and gradually alter slicer settings. Continue printing to see whether there are any improvements, as you change the settings. Slicers have quite a few settings, and it takes time to get the hang of them.
7. Reduce Print Speed
A print's visual quality is reduced with ringing or echoes around the accents of the features. These lines are brought on by vibrations in the operation of the extruder. To mend this issue, slow down the printing rate. Ensure that the extruder has ample space to maneuver so that the print area doesn't overheat and cause quality issues. It is also one of the best ways to get a reliable print.
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8. Post Processing is Important
Following a print, few defects have to be fixed. For instance, eliminate any imperfections, especially if painting or polishing is planned. You can use a tiny knife or sandpaper to smoothen any rough edges. Some filaments, like ABS, can be treated with acetone to get a glossy look. As for copper-infused or composite plastics, they could be enhanced with some treatment and sanding.
9. Use Large Sized Nozzle
By using larger nozzles, you can get thicker layers, which significantly decrease printing times. Try printing with a larger nozzle plus the max layer thickness, if precision is not a priority. The maximum thickness of the layer has to be 75 percent of the nozzle diameter. Thus, a 0.8 mm diameter nozzle may print out segments that are 0.6 mm thick. Thinner layers result in more exceptional quality, so depending on the print, keep the right type of nozzle at hand. The stability of the object enhances with thinner layers and thicker layers imply losing the delicate information of the product. Therefore, It's also essential to locate the ideal nozzle for your model.
10. Ways to Get a Reliable Print: Bonus Tip
The number of supports needed for a print is directly proportional to the time it would require to print. There are a lot of methods that may help in reducing the amount of supports. Most designs do not require supports nowadays. Removing them is an effective way to get a print without compromising quality or strength. Ultimately, do not expect to create models that are perfect for the first couple of tries. Look after the filament you are using. When with quality issues arise, review your preferences and also make the necessary adjustments, slowly. You will significantly improve your 3D printing.