3D PRINTING: TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Ok! So, you’ve got your printer, your filament, and your model, also your computer is set up. What else do you need to have a successful print? Below we will introduce you to a list of tools that will assist you with the maintenance of your printer as well as ensure that your printing experience is enjoyable. If you’re ready so are we, let’s get printing!
First, we’ll discuss Build surface helpers. These are very important and are dependent on the type of printer you have.
Kapton Tape – If you have a heated build plate, you might not need anything additional to help your objects stick to the plate, but if you do, this is a good material to look into purchasing.
Painter’s Tape – For non-heated build platforms only, this provides an affordable solution to help objects adhere to the build plate but still remove easily.
Build Tak – For non-heated build platforms only, this material serves the same purpose of painter’s tape, but tends to adhere to the objects a bit stronger. This makes wobbly prints easier to print but all prints a bit more difficult to remove. One of the benefits is that this will last a very long time, as it is more difficult to tear.
If you’re using a non-heated build platform, we recommend a layer of BuildTak with a layer of painter’s tape on top of it. The combination seems to work for the majority of prints. Keep in mind, if you’ve adjusted the build surface by adding or removing any layers, be sure to re-level your printer accordingly!
Hair Spray – (Yes, we’re being serious.) Another helpful tool to keep near the printer, this can sometimes add a bit of stickiness to the build plate to help the object adhere better. We rarely use this at the office, but it is a common tool many makers use
Clam Knife – By far the most useful tool we’ve used to remove objects from build plates, its thin edge yet sturdy design make it optimal for sliding under objects and then applying force like a lever to pop objects off the build plate. Note, however, a clam knife is sharp! Be very careful when using it and use your best judgment in entrusting it to the users of your printer. Choose a blunter tool depending on the age and responsibility your users. We do not suggest integrating these into school environments. Nor do we claim any liability for injury, etc. obtained using or providing a clam knife with your 3D printer.
Scraper/Putty Knife – Available in a variety of designs, these make decent alternatives as a blunt object to use for model removal.
These rare just a few of the many tools that will make your printing experience very pleasing. 3D printing can be very enjoyable but you have to be prepared for those not so pleasant moments and we at MyStemKits want to make 3D printing very enjoyable for you.
For a complete list of all the tools, please click here and visit our Tools of the Trade page.