3D printing has become more and more common in our daily lives. Thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to easily print from a small part to a large building. The range of products is also encouraging – today it is possible to find a lineup that includes both affordable devices and more expensive ones. But how to work with a 3D printer? This is a normal question for any beginner, which is why we will try to answer it as simply and easily as possible.
- What is a 3D printer and how does it work?
- Principle of operation of a 3D printer: features
- How to use a 3D printer: tips for beginners, where to start
- Installing the Printer
- Preparing for work
- Checking Extruder Flowthrough
- Filling the 3D printer
- Working with models
- Starting to print
- Printer worktable
- What mistakes can there be and how can they be avoided?
What is a 3D printer and how does it work?
A 3D device consists of the printer itself and the computer that controls all the processes. The principle of such a design is to create 3D models by applying layers of liquid material. There are many models of printers, from large industrial to compact, but all of them have the same principle of operation and component parts:
- The extruder is the print head through which the filament passes. The head heats the filament to a semi-liquid state and feeds the material evenly to the work surface.
- Work surface – the printing platform on which the 3D model is formed.
- Engines – mechanisms responsible for the accuracy of movement and printing speed.
- Sensors – electronic devices that limit the moving parts by the specified coordinates.
- Frame – the structure that connects all the parts of the printer.
Principle of operation of a 3D printer: features
Work to build a three-dimensional model begins with the construction of a sketch, which is created in a special program. After that, the software independently forms a plan of movement of the print head and the printing sequence. The 3D model is reproduced by strong heating of the plastic and its even distribution.
The 3D printer is used in many areas. Let’s list some of them:
- Architecture – creating building models.
- Medicine – dental prosthetics, making models of organs for study.
- Construction – making houses using 3D printing technology.
- Education – a visual aid for studying 3D printing.
- Automotive – creating tuning parts, prototype models and other products.
This is a small list of industries where 3D printing is actively used. Today, the printer can afford almost every entrepreneur and just a passionate person.
The following printers are distinguished by their design features:
- RepRap – self-replicating printers capable of creating their own copies.
- DIY-kit – the machine comes disassembled with instructions, which will take a fair amount of time to assemble.
- Ready-made – models are delivered assembled and ready to use.
- Commercial and industrial – devices capable of printing metal, concrete, polymers and other materials.
How to use a 3D printer: tips for beginners, where to start
Mastering the technique of three-dimensional printing is not difficult, if you follow the recommendations and tips. Especially for those who are planning to learn the basics of 3D modeling, we have prepared an up-to-date list of questions and detailed answers to them.
Installing the Printer
To begin with, you will need to carefully unpack the box and remove all the stops. The next step is to install the printer on the surface using a construction level. This will allow you to place the device as evenly as possible, which will ensure better printing.
As a side note. Some models of 3D printers come with a level for installation.
Next, you will need to connect the printer to your computer and install the necessary drivers. The software disk comes with the 3D device.
Preparing for work
To start working, it is necessary to make a calibration of the work surface – without this, printing high-quality products is impossible. This process can be done automatically or manually. There is detailed information on how to calibrate manually in the enclosed manual.
Checking Extruder Flowthrough
The next important step is to set up the extruder. First, you will need to check its nozzle. If the printer has been used before, you should clean the nozzle of any frozen particles that will interfere with the flow of material.
Filling the 3D printer
Once the extruder is free of the solidified elements, the next step is to prime the printer. The filament is threaded into the extruder directly from the spool. But there is a nuance to this – it has to be warmed up first. For threading, you will have to put a little effort in order to loosen the clamping mechanism.
Working with models
You can create models in different programs designed for three-dimensional modeling. The process of making three-dimensional parts is creative and requires careful preparation. The better and more detailed drawing of the model, the better 3D model will be at the output.
Starting to print
After creating the model in the program and preparing the printer for work, you need to send the file to print and wait for the result. Printing speed depends on the printer model and its specifications, as well as the material used.
Finished product processing
3D products obtained as a result of printing on the printer, usually do not please the user with a perfect appearance: the parts have an uneven surface. But this is characteristic of FDM 3D printer models, SLA- and DLP-devices are characterized by higher print quality. The owners of FDM printers should not despair – a simple processing of products will give the products an attractive appearance and make the surface smooth.
Several effective ways for the subsequent processing of printed 3D-parts:
- Mechanical – carried out by sanding the surface with sandpaper or a special sponge for sanding.
- Chemical – surface treatment with aggressive solvents such as acetone and dichloroethane.
- Mixed – in this case the two above-mentioned methods of treatment are used.
What mistakes can there be and how can they be avoided?
The technology of 3D-printing can be mastered even by a beginner, but, despite this, making the first products is exciting for the user. Simple operation, detailed instructions and recommendations on the Internet will allow anyone to understand almost any printer model. But there are a few helpful tiphacks, knowing which will help avoid typical beginner’s mistakes:
- Calibrate and test your 3D printer before you start.
- Watch out for the correct file extension for quality printing.
- Do not take the finished product out of the printer immediately after processing it: this can damage the part and provoke defects.
- If errors occur during the 3D printing process, try restarting the device – this usually helps.
- If restarting the printer still does not help, try changing the settings or re-enter the model.
- When assembling 3D printing devices, follow the attached instructions clearly.
- Use only the appropriate materials for your 3D printer.
Following the above tips will allow you to set up your 3D printer, get it ready to run, and most importantly – print your first 3D pieces. Choose a model according to your budget and capabilities, and it won’t be difficult to learn the basics of 3D modeling and get your first pieces if you follow the instructions and recommendations.