3D PRINTING FILAMENTS AND RESINS
3D printing has changed what it means to “create”. Ideas and designs that once only ever existed in our imagination can now be turned into real-life objects you can touch and feel or even hold in your hand. Are you the kind of person who comes up with better ways to solve problems? Perhaps there’s a small tool or time-saving device you wish you had but it hasn’t been invented yet? Well, now you can be inventor.
Beyond giving us more ways to create, 3D printing is also an integral part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) movement. It takes your child’s curiosity and creativity to new heights helping them think outside the box. Monoprice makes 3D printing accessible to all with a low cost-of-entry for everything you need to get started including printers, filament, and more. Now it’s your turn to make your perfect vision into a reality.
3D Printing Basics
3D printing at the core is just transforming a virtual design into a fully three-dimensional product. The printer achieves that through what is called fused deposit modeling (FDM). Filament is fed into the printer (like ink in a traditional printer), heated, and extruded onto the printer bed in layers. Each layer is a cross section of the final, three-dimensional object.
What You Can Make with a 3D Printer
What’s in it for the average consumer? A lot, actually. Here are a few of the many possibilities:
• Turn ideas into reality
- Wow your child by turning their 2D drawings into 3D creations that can stand out in a place of honor on the kitchen counter, coffee table or home office desk. Show and tell will never be the same.
• Useful Household Items and Custom Cooking Utensils
- Print everyday items that help you organize or stretch your cooking skills with custom tools and utensils.
• Fix Instead of Buy
- Gone are the days when you could buy one blender to last you a lifetime. These days, everything seems to be planned for a 2-year life span at most before you’re forced to upgrade to the latest model. With a 3D printer, you can get around that by searching designs for specialty parts or create your own.
• Toys and Trinkets
- Of course, if you want to just print designs of models - whether they’re reproductions or original creations - a 3D printer is perfect for that as well. See what you can create with limitless imagination and the right tools.
3D PRINTERS BASIC "HOW TO" QUESTIONS
What is a Bowden tube connector?
The Bowden tube connector is typically a small piece that looks similar to a valve. It allows filament to feed directly into the extruder motor, which pushes filament through the heated nozzle. It is also common to refer to this part as a Bowden Coupler or Pneumatic Push Connector, as well as other names.
- Most connectors have a circular tab on the top of the piece, which is what keeps the PTFE tube inserted into place. Press down on this circular tab to either remove or insert the PTFE tube. Once the PTFE tube is in place, release the circular tab to secure it in place.
- Always press down on the circular tab before attempting to remove the PTFE tube to prevent damage to the Bowden connector.
What types of filament should I use?
While you can use any type of filament you want, we suggest that beginners should start with PLA or PLA+ filament. This allows you to become acquainted with your new printer and get a better understanding of how it works. The table below lists the most common types of filament with use-case suggestions and suggested temperatures.
|180 ~ 200°C
|40 ~ 50°C
|Models, low-wear toys, prototyping
|210 ~ 230°C
|50 ~ 60°C
|Phone cases, average-wear toys, tool handles
|210 ~ 230°C
|30 ~ 50°C
|Flexible objects, wearables, PPE components
|220 ~ 240°C
|50 ~ 60°C
|Mechanical parts, PPE components, high-wear pieces
How do I maintain my printer?
As with most mechanical objects, your 3D printer needs periodic maintenance to keep it operating at peak performance. Following are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
- Always remove filament completely when you have finished printing for the day. Allowing the filament to cool in the nozzle can cause clogging and further complications.
- To clear a clog, preheat the nozzle to 220°C, then manually push the inserted filament with more force than the printer's extruder motor is capable of exerting.
- Always double-check the level of your print bed. Printers with Auto-Leveling may need the offset adjusted. This will be a unique value for every printer. The space between the nozzle and the print bed should be 0.1mm, which is the thickness of a sheet of standard printer paper.
Food safety and 3D printing
Many people want to create objects for use with food or drink with their 3D printers, such as decorative plates, molds, cups, or cookie cutters. While this is indeed possible, there are several things to keep in mind.
- Always ensure that the filament you intend to use is food safe. This should be indicated on the product page or on the packaging. Some brands have specific types of filament that are FDA approved.
- FFF printing is the process of melting and extruding thermoplastics into thin layers to build a model. Printing at the lowest layer height may help prevent ridges. Truly food safe objects should have a perfectly smooth surface.
- Most standard thermoplastics will react to the high temperatures used with standard dish washing. It is best to use lukewarm water and an antibacterial soap. This reduces the risk of damaging the print and removes any surface bacteria.
- Brass nozzles are a standard part for many 3D printers. However, these may contain trace amounts of lead. Using a stainless steel to print objects for use with food or drink will eliminate any risk of lead contamination.
3D PRINTER FILAMENT 101
A more in-depth explanation of 3D printer filaments.
GLOSSARY OF 3D PRINTING TERMS
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* Source: CONTEXT Q4'17 AM3DP Report