How to Get Started in 3d Printing


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You have seen the tech.  You have probably seen it in action.  Or maybe not.  What you do know is that 3D printing has caught your eye and you feel excited about the possibilities.  You can see yourself printing basic stuff like a toy airplane perhaps, or maybe a dish for your breakfast.  It is exciting, isn’t it?

But you are on a budget and can’t really even afford a computer at the moment.  Well, 3D printers are not as expensive as one would think  They are a relatively new technology, 3D printing I mean.   But even so, they are not crazy expensive.

In this tutorial, we will take you through the entire process of 3D-printing, including getting the materials you need. Ready? Set go.

The Printer

All right, so let us begin with the most important part:  the printer.  Now, one question we get all the time is what kind of printer to get.  There are many factors that you need to consider when getting yourself a printer.  You can find them at your local electronics store or you can find it online.

Either way, we believe that you should consider the following:

  • Your budget.  How much are you willing to invest in a printer.  Prices for these machines can range between $400 and $1000.  Now, this is the price for a good printer but also one that will need you to make compromises.  If your budget is actually a bit heavy, you can think of getting one that can cost you several thousand dollars.
  • The size of your prints.  The bigger is better here because it increases your possibilities of things to print.  The most common sizes are 6″x6″x6″ and above.  Since you are getting started, you might want to start with a not too large printer.  A large printer usually involves more experience in 3D printing.
  • The purpose of your prints.  What will you be printing stuff for?  Let’s say you are printing some props or armor.  Or if you need for it to be food safe or especially tough.  This will help you decide what type of filament to use.  Ask your seller.
  •  Who else will use the printer? If you were to bring your printer to your house and have kids, I would suggest a different type of printer that I would if you were taking it to your office or printing shop.  You should consider aspects of security, dust, risks of injury, etc.

When you get your printer, you will also need a surface to work on.  The most common 3D printing surface is buildtak, which is pretty good with printed designs.  It is pretty versatile as it allows printings of a variety of filaments.   It is pricey but if you take good care of it, you can use it many times.

The Filament

The next most important thing you need is the filament, which is what your printed object will be made of.  There are several types of filaments out there.  They have different properties and different temperatures to work with.  To get the best quality filaments you can check out 3D Printing Canada for the best prices.  You can ask them what is the best filament for your printings.

With practice, you will be able to know what kind of filament works best for whatever product you are printing. By the way, we strongly suggest you get yourself an airtight container to avoid moisture from the air to come in contact with your filament.  But you will also need some desiccant to drain out any moisture that might overcome your plastic airtight container.

The Software

There is free software out there to help you create your 3D filament into 3D models.  Before making your choice, check out the details and the reviews from other users.  Since you are getting started, we strongly recommend you download a software that is very user-friendly or good for beginners.   This should be a good start.

Knife and Blades

Ok, so now you have the printer, the filament, and the software.  You just plug, print, and sell, right?  Well, not exactly.  Printed objects usually come with edges or rough patches.   You will probably need some tools to smooth out these edges.  This includes a knife and blades.

But first, you need to remove it from the buildtak, which is especially designed for this.  You can use a painter spade to effectively remove your model from the buildtak.  Use a sharp knife to remove rough edges from your printed designs.  Very sharp blades are pretty effective at cleaning printed models.

Super Glue

Sometimes printing an entire model might not work because it simply does not do well as a single print.  Instead of that, print the parts separately.  You can later put them together using superglue.

Other Tools

But this not all yet.  But even when you are a starter 3D printer, these are all essential for a successful first printing.  You do not want to mess this up as it will cost you more money than what you bargained for.

The tip of the printer can get clogged from use.  You have to make sure you clean this plastic accumulation.  Some general purpose cleaning pads should be able to help with this.

The nozzle gap on your printer must be set accurately.  The best way to do this is with a feeler gauge.  They are not expensive and can be pretty useful.   To make sure that you got the correct dimension in your prints, a caliper is the best tool.


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