3D Printing for Beginners: A Guide into the Basics of 3D Printing!

3D Printing for Beginners. A 3D Guide dedicated to ensuring you turn from clueless novice, to a leader in the 3D world.

3D Printing for Beginners is a knowledge filled 3D Guide. It will enable you to venture into more depth about the up and coming revelation that is 3D printing.

 

WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?

Before venturing out and purchasing any 3D printer a good place to start in the 3D Guide is the basics.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process in which you create a 3 dimensional solid object from an STL digital file. The creation of the 3D printed object is achieved by additive processes. How an additive process works is by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each one of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

HOW DOES 3D PRINTING WORK?

How 3D printing works is by creating a virtual design of what you would like to print and create. The virtual design is created by using a CAD (computer aided design) file. This is made on a 3D modelling program to create a design from scratch or it can be made using a 3D scanner which scans an existing item/object and makes a digital copy.

 

FDM AND DESKTOP PRINTERS:

FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) is the most popular technology used for desktop 3D printing.

a-cheap-3d-printer
Einstart S 3D Printer

FDM printers use two kinds of materials. A modeling material, which constitutes the finished object and a support material. The support material acts like scaffolding to support the object as it’s being printed.

During printing, these materials take the form of plastic threads or filaments. These are unwound from a coil and fed through an extrusion nozzle. The nozzle melts the filaments and extrudes them onto a base (or build platform). Both the nozzle and the base are controlled by a computer that translates the dimensions of an object into X, Y and Z coordinates for the nozzle and base to follow during printing.

CreatBot DM | 3DPrint.co.uk
CreatBot DM

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is a 3D printing process that uses a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material such as PLA (Polyactide). This is then fed from a large coil through a moving heated printer extruder head. Molten material is then forced out of the print head’s nozzle and deposited onto the model. The head is moved under computer control to define the printed shape. The head moves in layers, moving in two dimensions to deposit one horizontal plane at a time before moving slightly upwards to begin a new slice. The speed of the extruder head may also be controlled. This is to stop and start deposition and form an interrupted plane without stringing between sections.

The next step is the 3DPrint Buyers Guide as this will help you find what 3D Printer suits your needs. To explore that 3D Guide click the link here to access the 3DPrint Buyers Guide.

 

This section of the 3D Guide is on 3D Printing software.

SOFTWARE

When choosing any 3D software, you need to find one that is easy to learn with and use, especially if you are a beginner. It is important you should choose one that is going to perform the task you want to and at the level of quality you want to reach. Depending on the use of your 3D printer and what you are planning to create a good tip is to go for some free software to start with so you can learn the basics.

This section of the 3D Guide is on finding what is best for you and your 3D Printing needs.

FINDING WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU?

So after guiding you through the basics and must know information on 3D printing.It is time to help YOU decide upon what printer will satisfy and will be up to the standard you are after.Before that though you need to make sure you understand several factors as picking the right 3D printer is not as simple as it sounds.

Now there are many factors to be considered when finding whats best for you.That’s where we come in and here are some key things and information to help you along the way.

The sections below in the 3D Guide are all about the making sure you understand and are clued up on aspects of 3D Printing.

MICRONS

A micron is a unit of measurement used in 3D printing determining layer thickness.Micron also called a micrometer, is the millionth part of a meter. The importance of layer thickness is critical when part features and sizes are tiny.This can dictate a system’s ability to create the very small features accurately.3D prints with a lower resolution have thicker slices, producing jagged edges which usually results in more post processing.These parts also require a generous amount of clearance for moving parts and assemblies.Micron measurements are a very important specification to look out for when purchasing your 3D printer as it will give you a good idea of how accurate and detailed your 3D prints will be.

 

SOFTWARE

When choosing any 3D software, you need to find one that is easy to learn and use, especially if you are a beginner.It is important you should choose one that is going to perform the task you want to and at the level of quality you want to reach. Most professional 3D software is expensive.Luckily there are always some free software.Depending on the use of your 3D printer and what you are planning to create a good tip is to maybe go for some free software.Why fork out on software when there is no need? So you still are able to create and venture into the magic of 3D printing but you save money at the same time.

BUDGET

Have you set a budget? This is an important factor as it helps narrow down the selection of printers before looking into features and gadgets.The downside to a budget is that it might mean you have to sacrifice some features and gadgets you where hoping to have. Secondly, now you have discounted those that are out of your budget, it’s time to see what features the printer has that are suited to your use of the printer. Let’s take you through the features and what they enable you to do.

EXTRUDERS

Extruders are one of the most important parts on the printer as they output the material to create your 3D model. Many printers come with singular, dual or triple extruders.

CreatBot DE | 3DPrint.co.uk
CreatBot Dual Extruder Heads

The benefit of having multi-extruders is that it speeds up the overall printing process, by allowing continuous printing. It does not print any faster, it just means the printing never stops.

Having multiple extruders allows you to have multiple filaments in and ready to be used whenever the object being printed requires them. This is

where the saved time comes from. Having different filaments available to print, means you no longer have to pause a print, empty out the extruder of the previous filament, feed in the next filament, and resume the print every time you need a different material. The printer will simply call on which filament it needs, when it needs it.

 

WI-FI & WEBCAM

Webcam enabled 3D printers are a great feature which enables you to go about your daily business while keeping a close digital eye on the printer and your creations. Wi-Fi enabled printers are a great way to save on the hassle of connecting numerous wires and leads. Another advantage is allowing you to print from anywhere you please via the Wi-Fi and an app.

 

FILAMENT DETECTION

Filament detection is a feature few 3D printers are equipped with. Filament detection allows the printer to send a warning or reminder when the filament is due to run out. Therefore instead of running out of filament you can change the reel and let the creation of your 3D design resume.

 

BUILD PLATFORM
Build platforms are where the creating is brought to life. As a beginner a great tip would be to try and purchase a printer with an auto leveling platform. Distance is also a key factor in helping produce your perfect prints. If you don’t get this right, you’ll see issues such as peeling, warping, cracking, or a simple no-stick.

Detail of a 3D printer printing with a yellow ABS filament ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes
3D printer printing on it’s Build Platform

 

HEAT BEDS

Heat beds are used to dramatically improve print quality of your 3D creations. This is by keeping the extruded plastic warm to prevent warping. Warping is a common condition due to areas cooling down at an uneven rate. The result is that corners warp up and deform your model. Not all printers offer this as a feature; it is normally an optional extra.
This section of the 3D guide is all about 3D Filaments

FILAMENT TYPES

There are numerous materials used for filaments here are some below.

PLA/ABS Thermoplastics.

PVA is a water-soluble synthetic polymer hydrolysed from polyvinyl acetate.

HIPS is very similar to PLA/ABS but unlike PLA and ABS, HIPS is non-hygroscopic (does not hold water).

PETG in it’s natural form is transparent or opaque based on the crystalline structure in the plastic.

 

MATERIALS

Gold, Platinum, Sterling Silver, Precious Metals, Strong and Flexible Plastic, Frosted Detail Plastic, Acrylic Plastic, Metallic Plastic, Brass, Bronze, Steel, Full Colour Sandstone, Porcelain, Castable Wax, Wood and Elasto-plastic. As you can see the materials list covers a large area.

Not all 3D printers are capable of printing all of the above materials so make sure you check what filaments can be used when purchasing your 3D printer. If you look at the technical specifications on www.3DPrint.co.uk it will enable you to see what filaments can be used on each printer.

Filament sizing is important as it plays a part in the quality and results of your 3D creations. The two sizes available for filaments are 1.75mm and 3mm.

The resolution of a 3D printer filament is determined by two things. Firstly the diameter of the 3D printer filament then secondly the diameter of the extruder head. These will not match.The extruder head will always be smaller than the filament. This is because part of the extruder head melts the 3D printer filament down before feeding it through the nozzle and onto the build plate.

Extruder heads can come in multiple sizes. The Filament on the other hand only comes in the two basic sizes of 1.75mm and 3mm. While some printers can accept both, many will only take one or the other.

Click here to take you to all our 3D Filament Products.

 

ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES.

1.75mm FILAMENT:

ADVANTAGES

The 1.75mm is a finer filament and great for small parts and intricate detail. It requires less torque, meaning the printer isn’t working as hard to melt and push the filament through the nozzle on the extruder head. This translates into more control over the rate that the filament is fed into the extruder head.

DISADVANTAGES

The 1.75 mm 3D filament is more expensive than the 3mm and the 1.75mm filament will take a longer time to build larger parts or devices.

3D Filaments | ABS | PLA | HIPS | 3DPrint.co.uk
3D Filaments in various colours.

3mm FILAMENT:

ADVANTAGES

Printers that use this filament also tend to print faster which makes it great for quickly building larger items. It’s ideal for rough prototypes, or large parts of simple devices.

DISADVANTAGES

Using the 3mm filament means the detail on what you’re printing won’t be as accurate as they would with the 1.75mm plastic filament. This is due to the 3D printer having to work harder to feed the filament through the nozzle meaning the process is harder to control.