Essential 3D Printing Accessories

Over the past few years, the popularity and accessibility of 3D printing have surged exponentially. 3D printing has witnessed accelerated growth and development as an industry. 3D printers and essential 3D printing accessories are now much easier for the masses to own and use. This is largely due to the introduction of budget options and simplified operating processes. With brilliant 3D printers like the CREALITY 3D Printer LD-002R, owning a 3D printer is within almost anyone’s reach. From the huge and fairly expensive devices in the past, the 3D printers available nowadays are much compact, inexpensive, and user-friendly.

However, successful 3D printing is not just dependent on the device itself. To make your printing experience smoother and efficient, there are a few accessories that you should have, along with the unit. These essential 3D printing accessories are vital in determining the quality of the final print. With the correct accessories, an average 3D printer can become an extraordinary device, that churns out incredible prints.

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Here is a list of the essential 3D printing accessories that will increase the efficiency and make your 3D printing experience more productive.

1. Digital Caliper

One of the essential tools for meticulous 3D printmakers is a digital caliper. In 3D printing, there are usually measurements of different pieces involved, and a caliper enables you to be more precise and accurate. It allows for error-free measurements of the individual parts of a print. It can also determine the proportions of a calibration print. You can also ensure the accuracy of the dimensions of the prints against the measurements in your CAD model.

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2. Filaments

Filaments are quite literally the most essential 3D printing accessory. 3D printers need certain types of filaments to print the models. The make of the printer determines the kind of filament it will use. Some of the common types of 3D printing filaments include PLA, ABS, PET, Wood, Nylon, etc. With quite a few eco-friendly characteristics, PLA is an excellent choice. ABS offers a simple alternative to PLA. The printing filament that you require is partially determined by your machine. Similarly, the nature of your project also plays a part in the choice of suitable filament.

3. Filament Containers

Proper management of filaments is similar to the wire management when building a PC – you can't have a tangled mess in your work area. Filaments can not only turn into a tangled mess; they could absorb moisture from the air as well. Storing filaments in a proper space is certainly crucial. There are dedicated storage boxes and containers for 3D printing filaments, but you can also use cheaper containers as alternatives. Any airtight and vacuum-sealed container or appropriately sized Tupperware will do the trick.

4. Single-board Computer/Raspberry Pi

One of the handiest accessories to pair with your 3D printer is Raspberry Pi or any other Single-board Computer. Raspberry Pi allows you to run programs like Repetier or Raspbian on your 3D printed models. Furthermore, single-board computers work exceptionally well for remotely controlling and tracking 3D printed models. They are simple to use and can elevate your 3D printing game. Moreover, Odroid XU4 and ASUS Tinker Board are also good alternatives to Raspberry Pi.

raspberry pi model b, raspberry pi zero w and Arduino uno development boards
Photographer: Harrison Broadbent | Source: Unsplash

5. Spare Print Beds

One of the first steps towards a perfect print is a perfect first layer. The type of bed surface plays a vital role in determining whether the print turns out smooth or not. It is also responsible for the rigidity and durability of the print. Some users swap the default ones for glass plated print beds, as they tend to withstand heat more efficiently and the parts don't end up wrapped on the surface.

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6. Borosilicate Glass 3D Printer Bed

Borosilicate is a glass bed that can handle high temperatures easily, as it is tempered. In addition, it makes the printed surface smoother. Just make sure that the dimensions of the bed match the model of your printer.

7. Heat Bed Platform Sticker

By using this platform, anything can be printed on it directly without using any extra adhesives. It is also compatible with all types of printing materials. Subsequently removing the printed parts without compromising them is also much easier. The bed can be used for several prints by simply wiping it down using isopropyl alcohol.

8. Extra Printer Nozzle

As the printer uses a nozzle to pass the filaments, they can sometimes get clogged. Although unclogging the nozzle is not that difficult, simply having a spare one can come in quite handy. This way, you can continue the printing process by easily swapping out the jammed one with the spare, while you clean the clog.

9. Adhesives/Glue Stick

With the help of an adhesive or glue, you can fix any imperfections or shortcomings of your printed models. Adhesives are also needed to join parts, if your model has multiple pieces, as well as strengthening adhesion on the print bed. Adhesives have a variety of uses in 3D printing.

10. Acetone

Acetone is used to polish the models after printing them to give a more sleek finish. Just a few dabs of acetone will add that extra smoothness to your final print. However, you need to make sure that the filament you are using is compatible with acetone before applying it.

11. Tweezers/Pliers

Tweezers and pliers are also essential parts of a maker's kit. Both of these tools are really helpful during the final processing of your print. You can adjust the details of your prints, no matter how minor they are with the help of tweezers. If a print gets stuck to the print bed, it can easily be pried off with a tweezer without damaging it. Likewise, pliers allow you to reach and tweak delicate details and areas of your printed model. Needle nose pliers are ideal for such tasks, along with snipping filament, resolving extruder clogs, etc.

12. Knives

A knife or other similar tools have a bevy of uses in post-print processing. You can use them to clear the extra bits and remnants of filaments left on the print plate and your printed model. From trimming filament to finishing a model, a knife is a convenient tool to have in your maker space.