What I learned playing with a 3D Printer

To create a special room for a machine I had never used I had to play for a while with it. I definitely learned a lot in that process, here are a couple things I learned:

1. It is all about the base: The first thing I realized was that 99.9999% of the issues I encountered were because of a bad base, either it was uneven and the printer head stick to the printing, or it was not anchored to the glass base and it came loose when you least expected it. The two things can be managed pretty simple.

a. Having a clean glass base is a must, so be sure to always clean it before and after printing.

b. As the base is being printed you can be sure to push down any small filaments that might move, that way the printer head will not get stuck.

c. If you are having trouble with the anchoring of your printer you can either elevate the base temperature or anchor it manually, to do so add a piece of paper and push the base down as it is printed, when most od the base is printed add one or two pieces of tape to hold it down, this is specially useful when printing big objects and as a plus the cleanup is a breeze.

d. Do not go anywhere while the base is being printed, most mistakes can be easily fixed if you pause the printing process as soon as the problem begins, once the base is done chances are the printing will go down easily.

2. Size Matters:

a. The smaller the design the less precision of the print, as a rule try to keep small designs as simple as possible to avoid problems while printing as the printer can get obstructed trying to reproduce small detailed objects. Bigger objects may take longer but are easier to print.

b. The scale is important: when using free designs making them bigger and smaller may affect the design itself and the outcome of the object being printed, always be aware of this when modifying preexisting designs.

3. Not all designs are the same:

a. Talking about free designs, be sure to read all information and comments about the design to fully know what you are printing, it will also let you now if the temperature settings need to be changed and what material the design is meant for.

b. Reading comments might help you find a better design or knowing beforehand what any trouble might be.

4. Be prepared:

Its important to have everything at hand items like the small spatula, tape and glue are fundamental in all stages of the printing process.

5. Not all materials are the same:

When it came to the filaments we found out that even though the material is the same, the printing quality was different.

6. Failure is an option:

The design might not come out as you had in mind or you might encounter millions of bumps before being able to print, or you might find that your can not print altogether. Do not worry; 3D printing is about creativity and patience.

Why use a 3D printer in the classroom? in our video we talked a little bit about it:

More reading on introducing a 3D printer in the classroom:

A complete list of resources by Kathy Schrock

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