How to Get Started With 3D Printing: 7 Steps to Take
Imagine that you are scrolling through an online store, marveling at the decorative objects they have there. Maybe it’s a bit too expensive, or you are interested in making your own decorations. Either way, thanks to 3D printing, you can indeed make your own replicas and more.
The future is not so far away anymore. It’s here, with 3D printing!
As 3D printing becomes more accessible to the average person, knowing how to 3D print correctly will help you avoid surprises. Learn how to get started with 3D printing with these seven steps!
Step 1: Decide What You Want to Print
First, in your journey on how to get started with 3D printing, you need to know what you are printing before you print it. There are a couple of ways you can decide what you are printing that also won’t break your bank.
You can choose a premade design to print out. If you are an absolute beginner and don’t know where to start, or you don’t feel comfortable creating your own design, this is a great place to start. Websites such as Thingiverse and others can provide you with the design you might be looking for.
If you feel pretty confident with your design skills, you can customize a design or create your own. You’ll need to use CAD (computer-aided design) software for either of these. There are 3D CAD design services available to help you too.
Step 2: Decide the Materials for Printing
Next, you will need to decide what materials you would like to use for the object you are using in a 3D printer to bring to life. This depends on if you’re looking for an object that is sturdy, detailed, or can handle extreme temperatures.
If you are looking to 3D print a strong object, you will want to print your object using metals as your materials. Metals like steel would help keep your object sturdy and together. If you are printing on your own, plastic is a great material to use.
For printing objects with intricate details, you will need to consider different materials like resin. Resin can mold itself to present the details you’re looking for in your printed object. For something more realistic, you will still want to rely on plastic, though.
Step 3: Prepare to Send the Print Job and Prepare the Printer
Once your design is ready and you have your materials picked out, prepare the printer with your chosen material (called a filament, discussed more in the next step). You can then send the print job to the 3D printer.
When you send the print job to the 3D printer, the nozzle of the printer will start getting hot. Once it is heated, it will then send the filament material to the extruder. Before you send the print job, though, you need to double-check a few important parts.
Step 4: Check the Printer’s Filament and Extruder
The filament and the printer’s extruder are important parts of 3D printing techniques. The success of your 3D print depends on if these two aspects are working properly.
The filament is the material you are printing with. There are many different kinds of filaments available.
You feed the filament into the printer and what you are making your model object with. The filament is fed through the extruder, which melts and drops it into the model.
Make sure you have the correct diameter for your filament. Also, the extruder cannot stay clogged or blocked, so clean it out after every use. Otherwise, it will not print and can even block up the machine to the point of breaking it.
Step 5: Get the Pressure Bed Lined up and Send the Print Job
The next important step in how to 3D print is to check the pressure bed’s level. If you do not align it to an equal level, then your 3D object will be crooked or the nozzle on the printer may clog.
Clean the pressure bed before you print, and double-check the distance between the nozzle and the bed. If the nozzle is too far away, then your first layer will not stick. In that case, your object will not print well.
Only after you have done this step can you hit “send” for the print job.
Step 6: After Printing, It’s Time for Support Removal
Your job is not over because your object is finished printing. There is some post-printing care you need to give your newly printed object.
First, remove the support material, if you used any. There may be some marks on your object, so then you will need to sand it to make your object’s surface smoother. If needed, you can also paint to help further protect your object or add details to it.
Step 7: Final Polishing of Your Printed Object
In your final step, you can focus on polishing your 3D printed object. This is to continue smoothing the surface of your object. Look into epoxy coating or vapor smoothing to help you with that process.
If you have an object made of multiple pieces, this is the final part where you will glue or weld them together. Following the polishing steps for individual pieces as well.
That’s How to Get Started With 3D Printing
3D printing for beginners doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you follow these seven steps. Knowing how to get started with 3D printing can feel daunting, but 3D printing itself doesn’t feel too difficult once you can map it out step by step.
Now go on and make that beautiful object you always wanted but didn’t want to buy! Make those fun designs into 3D models!
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