How I Try to 3D Print Effectively

For quite some time I have had a Robo 3D R1+ 3D printer which sits in my basement. It's mostly undisturbed and out of the way, which makes it a lot easier to print without worrying about mishaps. It is very easy to load plastic in and out, and it is also very easy to adjust the settings for each print because I use MatterControl. However, there are some issues that arise from not always maintaining the printer. In order to make it quick and easy to print an object, I employ a few simple steps to ensure I can 3D print as efficiently as I can. It involves two areas: preparing my printer and then designing the object I want to print so it is optimized for the printer.

First, I wipe the print bed with a damp paper towel. This ensures a clean and smooth surface for the print to start on, and of course also removes any adhesive used from previous prints. Then, I spray the print bed with hairspray. This ensures that the print will stick to the bed and not become dislodged. After that, I load the spool of plastic in and then preheat the printer. I also like to test the flow of the plastic by extruding some plastic before I start the print. If the flow of plastic is blocked or very restricted, then the printer will not print well. On previous prints, the nozzle occasionally clogged, which was due to burnt plastic all over it. After replacing the clogged nozzle, I have always ensured that the plastic flows smoothly and cleanly.

After making sure everything is in order, I remove any stray plastic that is on the hotbed and print whatever I need to print.

Usually my prints are either small enough to take 30 minutes to print, or they take several hours. I always try to design the object so that it prints quickly and accurately. If the object is too complex or too big, then the printer might fail and I would get a bad print. As a result, most of what I print is not very complicated. I also fiddle around with the scale to make the print go faster. Generally, I print at the full scale, but if I have a deadline, such as for a school project, then I might set it to be smaller so that it takes less time. There is a limit to how small the printer can print, but I have rarely run into that issue. I also try to avoid having too many holes in the object. A 3D printer prints objects by carefully layering thin layers of plastic that fuse together. A hole or a slope can cause issues if there is no support beneath it because the plastic will just fall down. There are special plastics that provide this support, but my printer is not equipped for that, so I have to avoid having holes when I design the object.

To summarize, I prepare a 3D print so that it goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Making sure that there are no issues with the printer before I print allows me to avoid wasting my time with a bad print, but that is only half the battle. Optimizing the object I want to print so that it can be 3D printed allows me to avoid most of the issues that can cause bad prints. As a result my 3D printing experiences has gone very smoothly. If you have issues with your own prints, try following some of my methods and you might learn something new about how to effectively 3D print something.