The Joys and Evils of 3D Printing
While 3D printing may be great, those who haven’t owned a 3D printer are probably not aware of the complications of owning one.
Over this winter break, I have spent a good 2–3 days building and getting a 3D printer up and running after seeing a deal breaker on a site.
After the long and tedious hours of screwing pieces together, wiring cables around chassis crevices, and leveling the printing bed, I have finally come up with a convenient list of things to consider for those who are interested in 3D printing.
Arguably the best Budget 3D Printer out there: Anet A8
This thing is amazing. Although I had problems starting off, the Anet A8 is the first printer I’ve ever owned, and honestly, it’s awesome. I had no real reason to invest in a 3D printer initially. It was mere flash sale buy that I seemed to glance by on the internet.
Question: Is the USB cable also provided in the pack? And is it possible to send my STL file to the printer with cable…www.gearbest.com
While browsing through YouTube, one of my favorite channels (DIY Perks, he’s awesome. Definitely subscribe!)
Some key points to mention regarding this printer is the price for the bed dimension. It’s pretty huge compared to other printers at this price point. Also, don’t shy away just because it’s a Chinese rip-off of the Prusa i3!
The reason why printers like these are so cheap is because they’re DIY printers. The printer actually comes in pieces, and there are video instructions to put it together
Before I mention some of the things that might arise as a future owner of a 3D printer, I have to point out some key points that made me want to buy one despite all the bullsh*t I had to go through :).
Get this Printer Because…
Build your own printer, you’ll regret it at first, but you’ll love yourself after.
This is probably the number one reason why I decided to build a printer in the first place. I had nothing to print. What the hell am I going to do if I just bought a printer ready to go out of the box? If I have nothing to print, let’s build the thing first!
Not only do I stress building the printer on on your own, but you end up learning the inside and outs of the printer, making repairs in the future (or even building one on your own) a lot easier.
The community for this specific printer is ENOURMOUS.
Look at the printer from the product page.
People are constantly modding the Anet A8. It’s such a great printer, and with some love and care, this printer is a must. All these mods are online as well.
You can design so much and even learn from the experience.
For those who are still in college and are techies, this is such a great addition to a resume. Having a 3D printer will allow you to expand and do more with Solidworks and other programs to design your creations, as well as give you the option to say no to buying things and yes to creating things.
Now for the annoying things
1. Getting your filament to stick onto the bed
This is probably one of the most annoying aspects to 3D printing. There’s a lot of prepping when it comes to even starting a print in the first place. For instance, the nozzle must be preheated as well as the hot bed (if you have the Anet, you have one!). I another reason why the Anet A8 is nice is because it has a hot bed as well, which reduces the chances of your print peeling off the bed.
I’ve taken this quote off of a forum, but forgot who said this. For the person who I have quoted, please let me know if you ever see this. I’ll give credit where it’s due.
Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Your goal is to get a completed object off the print bed, not to have a magical machine that runs without human intervention. Use whatever tricks and cheats you can think of to make sure the print sticks to the bed. I’ve been known to pause the printer and super glue the first layer to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere, especially on large, flat prints. A little post-processing with sandpaper, filler, and paint goes a long way towards making nice objects you’ll be proud to show off.
2. Leveling the bed
The amount of hatred I have for leveling is on par with my print peeling off. A general rule of thumb when leveling the printing bed is to take a piece of paper (or a thin business card) with the same thickness as a piece of printer paper. After this, tighten/loosen the edges of the printing bed so that the nozzle will be within 1mm close to the bed.
Note: Although you you don’t need this swear by this measurement, having it at 1mm usually does the trick. Too close will prevent the filament from extruding out of the nozzle, and too far will make the filament cool down before it hits the bed.
3. Extruder Clogs (Heat Creep)
This is very rare for me (although take my words with a grain of salt).
Heat is very common when using PLA (very common filament that people use. It’s not the strongest, but it’s very durable and recommended for starters). PLA has a lower melting point than most plastics. When you’re done printing for the day, cooling down the material will swell up the plastic, and will expand and stick to the walls of the nozzle.
To be honest, I have never had a problem with this. However, if you do, you can simply heat up your nozzle and just push the filament through the nozzle to try and pull it out. If this doesn’t work, you’re going to have to take the extruder apart and operate (it isn’t too bad, don’t worry).
In the end, I still believe 3D printing has come a long way. It’s definitely time to for anyone who has a passion for technology to invest in one. The Anet A8 is fit for someone who wants to learn more about 3D printers and also put in the work to mod and improve their printer as well. Other than that, I have no regrets to buying this printer myself.
Also… if you would like to stay updated with what I have to say and more tech projects I’m trying to keep up with, please drop me a follow! I came back to blogging after realizing people are reading my blogs, and I would like to contribute more. Any support is appreciated!