Part 1. Introduction into 3D Printers
Part 2. Assembly Highlights
Part 3. Software and Configuration
Part 4. Tuning
Part 5. Upgrades
Part 6. Conclusion
by Michael Simpson
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Originally, I was going to go over the software that is available for the various 3D printers.
However, I want to change things up a little and talk about the first prints from each printer.
I want to talk about what it took to get from a ready-for-action printer to a first print.
The First Layer
Let's talk about some things that affect all extrusion-based 3D printers: the first layer. While there are many
places things can go wrong while printing, the first layer
sets the pace for the entire print. If it goes wrong, then the
print will suffer. The most common reason for first layer
failure is adhesion problems. Figure 1 shows what happens
when the extruded plastic does not stick to the bed. If you
frequently surf the forums, you will quickly find that "Print
Not Sticking to Bed" is very high on the list of common
print problems. The following factors are the most common
ones encountered that can affect first layer adhesion to the
bed: bed material; bed temperature; printing speed;
printing height; level bed; filament material; and part size.
The print in Figure 2 failed because the bed was not
getting hot enough for the bed material. So, what works?
Here are some of the settings I use.
Print on quality Kapton tape with the bed set to
100-120°C. Depending on the ABS used, the extruder
temperature is set to 220-240°C. I set the first layer print
speed to 10-20 mm/s. My first layer height is between
. 2 and . 3 mm. The bed needs to be level with the print
head. There needs to be about .1 mm between the nozzle
and the bed when the Z axis is at zero.
I set PLA the same as ABS, except I print on glass with
the bed temperature set to between 65-75°C. Extruder
temperature is set between 180-220°C.
68 SERVO 07.2013
Too Hot to Handle
Okay. You have
good adhesion, but
after about 10
layers the print
starts to go wrong.
The layers start to
droop or you start
to see gaps. This is
a sign that heat is
building up in the
print. The key to
problem is that the