So..you’ve heard of the possibilities of owning your own 3d printer but dont think you’re tech savvy enough or don’t know how or really why to go about it. Or maybe you did what I did and bought one without really knowing what your doing and would like a guide before you blow up your machine :p
Well look no further.
3d printing does everything you probably think it does (I can’t wait for 4d printing) and they’re VERY easy to operate, at this point, they’re designed with the everyday consumer in mind.
For home bodies who want to enhance their living space by making planters, showerheads and shelves etc, for jewelry makers who want a new spin on fashion, for the handyman that wants quick and cheap replacement parts, To the interior designer that wants a physical model to present to a client, to the tinkerer looking to invent the next great thing.
When it comes to 3d printing, there’s something for everybody.
This post is built to give you enough tips and tricks to get you off to a solid start on this highly addictive hobby and as a reference point for beginners who are already wandering down that rabbit hole.
If I was gonna be investing that kind of time and money on a machine, I’d like my first printer to be near perfect with big build volumes, great print quality and speed and the least amount of hassle to operate.
I looked into printers like The Monoprice Mini Delta but the build volume was too small for me.
Same with the Flashforge: Finder though convenient in design (like the size of a microwave), it just wasn’t big enough for me.
The Makerbot Replicator+ looked like the perfect machines to me but it was way too expensive for me at the time and might have been too big for my childishly small room :/
Now all of these machines are awesome in there own right but what I needed was a happy medium Which I had finally found in the robo3d r1 plus.
The r1 plus can print over 15 different material types, was speedy enough at the time and had perfect build volume.(Though they have since came out with the RoboR2 which looks drop dead gorgeous.)
I like Robo3D because because everything’s just so plain and simple. You buy it, you start printing, that’s it!
Not to mention their PLA materials. Beautiful colors which are not only non-toxic, but can even have a pleasant aroma while it’s printing like their waffle smelling Yellow PLA.
What I wanted in my first 3D printer was total self sufficiency when I was looking for a printer, I noticed that you always needed a computer plugged into it somehow to work..and I don’t have a computer to this day 🙂 So with the Matter Control tablet, I have a dedicated means of downloading and manipulating 3d models to print all in one self contained space.
And now you need materials! There are many materials to mess around with and not all materials are created equal so try out different companies and see what you like the most. I personally recommend Hatchbox and SainSmart for basic PLAs as the overall print quality is excellent and the colors come out looking top notch.
I’ll save you the heartache of experience by telling you about this now. Get something like a Polymaker PolyBox 3D Printer Filament Storage Box to save your material from spoiling and going brittle due to the elements. Trust me.
When your all set up, it’s time to print stuff and see what your machine can do!
Now if you’re no 3d modeling expert that’s ok, me neither. I like to download models from Thingiverse to print. Thingiverse is a place where many inventors a tinkerers upload their works to be downloaded and appreciated. You can find damn near any kind of model you’d want to print.
If you ARE planning on learning some 3d modeling, I’d look into OnShape(available for Android and ios). OnShape is a free cloud based serviced that teaches you how to model. You can then save your files and transfer them to your machine for immediate printing.
Chewed up filament
It’s hard to see in this picture but that dent you see in the center if that filament is what happens when the extruder gears grind your material because either: your extruder’s clogged or: the screws on the back of the filament holder are loose and are causing the gears not to bite properly
..which can cause a clog if you weren’t lucky enough to have one already.
Before you decide to tighten the back screws, it’d be a great idea to remove the screws altogether so as to clean the extruder teeth (preferably with a steel bristle brush) to prevent further nonsense. 🙂
So there’s a few things you can do to get yourself nice and clogged. Filament holder not biting properly, extruder not hot enough to melt the previous materials leftovers, your spool sucks etc. In any case, I know if 3 ways to unclog the extruder:
First you heat up your extruder no matter how you decide to do this.
1-Get yourself a nozzle cleaning kit which usually comes with needles and and tweezers.
I use Reptor.
You take a needle and insert it into the hotend without burning yourself.
Clean it out and use the tweezers at the filament holder to remove any broken off pieces.
2-take a VERY thin screwdriver and firmly yet carefully push out any material through the heated hot end.
3-you can unscrew the front of the hot end holder plate to slide out the holder and remove the hot end itself to manually remove the clogged material.
However I don’t recommend this method as it’s harder than it looks and easier to get burned or worse: accidently break a wire. So use this as a last resort.
Printing on the air
My favorite :/
So the auto leveling is off which means the z-axis bars are uneven.
So you would manually turn the z-axis rods to lower both sides until you get to the hotbed itself and listen for a click. You would then move the extruder from left to right and see how well it glides across the hot bed which will allow you to better identify and adjust the uneven axis…