3D Printing Basics

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials' started by Sudsy, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Sudsy

    Sudsy New Member

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    This post will focus on desktop 3D printing. Most Zealots are used to 2D printing, X and Y drawing on paper, and providing the Z axis through adding cardstock (and other materials) together using adhesive. This process is both additive and subtractive in that we print out parts (or lay them out) on standard sized material, and remove the excess material (subtractive manufacturing) in the first steps, and then take these components and then piece them together (additive sculpture in this case).

    People familiar with machining wood, metal, or other materials will instantly recognize many of the features used in 3D printing, as a 3D printer is nothing more than a computer numeric controlled (CNC) machine tool. Having a CNC background certainly helps, but with today's 3D printing tech boom over the last decade, such knowledge is largely optional to start out with (you will end up learning, and it will be more fun than my community college CNC courses...). 3D printers are CNC machines with a printhead instead of a cutting tool. Material in the most common form of desktop 3d printers is fed into the print head and extruded on the printing platform in Fused Deposition of Material (FDM). Another growing form of desktop 3D printing is stereolithography (SLA) which uses a laser print head and layers of printing resin (odds are the elaborate jewelry you see out there was made using this method combined with lost wax casting...).

    In either case, material ends up deposited layer by layer. Layer heights are what make up the resolution of the item. Rapid prototyping using FDM printers and plastic to check functionality and interferences where detail is not needed are typically created quickly and have a resolution of 0.2mm and greater depending on the printer. Finer prints can with FDM can down to 0.05mm resolution, as seen in my post where I printed and painted Bent Copper (alien cop). Further reading can be found on the following site for more information all3dp.com for a good article. Bear in mind, technology changes quickly, and this article may already be out of date about the resolutions, as new FDM print heads have been released that contain smaller nozzles and are lighter weight allowing the machine to print finer and finer...

    FDM has a bewildering array of options for the kind of plastics you can print with. These range from polylactic acid (PLA, plastic derived from plant based sugars, therefore 'green' bio plastic) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) as the two most common, to nylon and metal (copper can filament can sometimes contain over 80% copper and fired in a kiln to remove the plastic making metal parts and sculptures) and wood particle infused materials.

    Updates to follow (1/24/19)
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  2. dr_tetrode

    dr_tetrode New Member

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    Nice, good description of the general process. The next question to answer is: What is your work flow?

    Mine is:
    1. Select a 3d model to print, of type .STL. This is the standard, today, for 3d models to be exchanged.
    2. Load it into a 'slicer'. A slicer is a piece of software, that takes the 3d model and converts it into a list of CNC stype G and M codes. This is a file that the 3d printer will read. It is a set of instructions on what to do, start here, move there, extrude this much material at this temperature. This is the place where I find the most decisions need to be made, and they can affect your print in many ways. Save the file.
    3. Load the file into your printer, mine uses SD card for the transfer.
    4. Run the print on the printer.

    I am curious about other's work flows.

    Scott ;-)
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  3. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator Moderator

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    This is a good intro info to 3-D printing. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am quite certain as technology improves and the price for the printers drop, I can see more and more people getting involved in this.
  4. Lee Clifton

    Lee Clifton Wisdom and Kindness, A Zealot Sage

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  5. dr_tetrode

    dr_tetrode New Member

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    Lee,

    Looks like a nice printer. I especially like the resume on power fail feature. The is fairly new in the 3d printer realm. What kinds of things are you planning on making with it?

    Scott ;-)
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  6. Gandolf50

    Gandolf50 Researcher of obscure between war vehicles... Moderator

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    You might want to check out this link, a friend that is an expert modeler bought one of their kit printers and is extremely happy with it. I missed the chance to pick up on when it was on sale on cyber week/Monday but the prices are still very good even for the 500mm version!

    Link HERE
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  7. Ponytail2

    Ponytail2 Member

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    Just over a month now I own a 3d-printer: the "famous" Creatility Ender 3D PRO. There's also a standard-machine, basically the same.
    Bought at de official shop of Creality. German Store. There are thirdparty shops that are delivering copies, or are even a scam. Payed around 250 Euro's.
    Worldwide you can go even cheaper, but in my country you have to beware of import taxes etc. when ordering from outside Europe.

    I am happy with it. Fairly easy to build it together and many instructions for this are on YouTube.
    Also are the some Facebookgroups with much knowledge. I learned a lot being a total 'noob' in this.
    Remcommended printer!

    The printer itself has some 'problems", some are easy to fix and free! Biggest one is the bed. Many found it not totally flat. Mine isn't also but just a little.
    Being a Open Source printer there is a lot of development going on by expert-users and -designers. Would I buy today another Ender 3D PRO there are already many modifications. The factory is looking closely and responds on the issues found by the users.

    If you want to go into a new world 3D-Printing I can advise this printer!
  8. Lee Clifton

    Lee Clifton Wisdom and Kindness, A Zealot Sage

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    Thought about making toy parts, maybe action figure heads and accessories. Also thought about making custom model kit parts like repositioned arms and hands.
    Lee
  9. dr_tetrode

    dr_tetrode New Member

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    Lee,

    Do you have 3d models of the parts you would like to print? That would be the first step in being able to print those things. Once you get those, you can then feed them into the workstream of slicing, g-code generation, and printing.

    Scott ;-)
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  10. dr_tetrode

    dr_tetrode New Member

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    Ponytail2,

    Sounds like fun, see my trials and tribulations in the General section. I just had some of that kind of 'fun' with my printer, but, when sorted out, it is working well!

    Happy Printing!

    Scott ;-)
  11. daishi

    daishi Member

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    Some of my co-workers started on 3D printing and they "infected" me too. I'd ordered a standard version of the Ender 3 + a separate package of V6 hotend + titan extruder + stepper motor, according to YT most other updates on the pro can be printed or just not that vital. Lots of possibilities online (like thingiverse).

    Just waiting it to arrive and maybe I will also do a "trials and tribulations" thread with it :p
    My coworkers use tempered glass on the hotbed so I'll probably go that way too.

    One notice thou most models online are not perfect for print even it sais they are, microsoft has a cloud based model repair tool that can do wonders. (based on my limited experience)
  12. Lee Clifton

    Lee Clifton Wisdom and Kindness, A Zealot Sage

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    Main reason I haven't gotten into it. Learning curve on 3D models and creating them. I'm a retired commercial artist and I create custom action figure displays kind of like mini movie sets. But I use all recycled materials, custom graphics that I create in Photoshop, and repainted and altered paper models. Not sure I want to spend all the time learning the process and programs for 3D when I can model most things by sculpting in sculptey.
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  13. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    That is a very valid point. These machines can take an extremely long time to make an object. For some applications, it's almost the only way to go, but for others, other conventional means are much faster, and a lot less investment in money and time is needed.

    I am still contemplating making one, as even on the ones that do "Nylon, eco-ABS, PLA ", they don't all take the universal filament rolls, and sometimes stopping and starting from the same spot can be a fatal error. You need a machine that can hold a lot of filament, unless you are sure you are making only small parts. I would really be interested in being able to do Nylon, and that apparently, along with ABS, is the most difficult. I have no interest it products that are water, and heat soluble. Still looking for a good, proven design.