Although 3D printing has great potential, they also have room for error. Sometimes it is the machine, and sometimes, it is the operator. 3D printers can help you create items in a very short time, but if you make a minor mistake, the time could get multiplied. There are quite a few things that you need to pay attention to when using a 3D printer. You have to find a balance and use it at just the right amount of nozzle temperature, layer size, and print speed. Otherwise, an overheating extruder, quick print speed, and inadequate layer size can ruin your print and become one of the 3D printing blunders. You should bear in mind that finding that balance is a game of trial and error, and once you get the hang of it, your machine will start printing incredible and desired results.

3D Printing Blunders

3D printing blunders and mistakes are not a pleasant experience for the users. If you follow the right guidelines and best practices, you will definitely find a fix to any problems that exist. There are plenty of issues that can be avoided by merely finetuning the settings to get the right balance. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable 3D printing blunders and how to get rid of them.

Wrong Filament Choice

Choosing inadequate filament is a very common 3D printing blunder. Many novices and even specialists sometimes do not know the best filaments for their purposes. This is due to the absence of appropriate manuals on materials, and users do not want to research further about the various things related to 3D printing.

Staircase Effect in 3D Printing and How It Can Be Fixed

For instance, each filament has specific unique properties. Some filaments are rigid, while some are soft. Some of them are suitable for high-precision tasks, while others can only be used for less precise tasks. You should be familiar with all the filaments compatible with your printer. This way, it will be easier to find the one that matches the model you want to print.

In the 3D printing realm, filaments have a significant role. Materials have their distinctive properties, which impact the final print. From physical to technical characteristics, they are transferred to the printed item. Therefore, finding the best material for 3D printing should be a priority, and the success of a print depends mostly on the filament you choose.

Wrong Printing Technology

Just like the elemental chemical composition of filaments, the printing technologies used to print are also different. Materials such as ABS, Polyamide, Aluminide, etc. can print interlocking parts, while filaments like Gold, Silver, Copper, and Resin cannot. The reason is not the filament itself, but the printing technology used to create models with these materials.

For ABS, FDM, based on filaments and polyamide, aluminum and polypropylene Laser Sintering based on powder is used. In the case of precious metals, the process of lost wax casting based on 3D printing wax molds are utilized. For resins, Stereolithography, based on liquid polymers, is the appropriate 3D printing technology.

3D printing blunders
Fred Kahl, Trammell Hudson – flickr

Wrong Layer Thickness

Among the most common 3D printing blunders is the wrong layer thickness. Problems with layer thickness are one of the reasons why some 3D models cannot be printed. In some instances, the layers may be too thin. If the layers are too narrow, the small parts in the model may not print or maybe very brittle and prone to breakage. In other cases, overly thick layers can create excessive internal tension causing cracks or even breakages.

Wrong File Resolution

Do you go through the design manual? Do you have the right filaments? Have you set the correct layer thickness? Fine, but there is still something to take into account: file resolution. The most commonly used file format used in 3D printing is STL (Standard Triangle Language), which translates drawings into triangles in 3D space. Most modeling programs offer the ability to set the required resolution and export the designs as an STL file. It is essential to understand that a low-resolution STL export will never make a good print. Low-resolution STL files result in surfaces that are not smooth and have low-quality. The result is a slightly “pixelated” printout.

STL files with very high resolution can make a file too big to process. They may also have extreme levels of details that 3D printers cannot print. So, when uploading a model to a website, you should try to keep the file size below 100MB. The majority of 3D modeling programs will ask you to set the export tolerance when exporting a file. The tolerance is described as the maximum space between the exported STL and the original shape. It is recommended to choose 0.01 mm for successful export.

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Ignoring Product Guidelines and Manuals

There are a variety of 3D modeling software packages that are used by creators for designing their models. Some of these are designed for 3D printing, while others are primarily used by 3D artists whose projects require further editing before they can be printed. For instance, some programs automatically apply layer thicknesses, while others adjust them manually; even entry-level programs specifically designed for 3D printing, such as Tinkercad, may have difficulty creating a hollow model. In such a case, free Meshmixer software can help.

If you use 3D graphics and animation programs such as Blender, or SketchUp, which is popular with architects and modelers, or ZBrush, used by sculpting 3D artists, you will have to prepare additional files. Depending on the software you use, you may have to connect the shells, make the model watertight, adjust the layer thickness and the dimensions, etc. Again, each program is different.

That is why it is essential to pay attention to the manuals and check out the software guide to convert the 3D printing model. If you cannot find it on the software website, look for tutorials on YouTube. This way, you will be able to improve your results and avoid any 3D printing blunders.

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