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What topics can I ask about here?

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

Please make sure that your questions are intrinsically 3D printing oriented. We have an unusual amount of "off-topic" questions because of the extensive overlap with our sibling sites at Blender, Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. When in doubt, ask there first. Questions where the 3D printing is not a significant factor will likely be closed.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for 3D Printing, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.


Common Topics

The following topics are merely suggestions, topics are not necessarily limited to the following and all topics are subject to community discretion.

Given the fluid nature of this nascent beta site, the following list of topics has been added, after evaluating demand from the community. Some topics such as CNC, and Laser engraving, whilst are not 3D Printing, they share a lot of commonality. Where such questions are regarding such commonality then they may be considered to be on-topic. As always, all topics are subject to community discretion. For further explanation see the 3D Printing Meta site

We want to try to answer as many questions as possible, but they do need to be answerable, and not require opinion based answers - some questions will only be able to attract opinion based questions, so again, don't be surprised if they get closed...

One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of questions can only be answered by opinions, but those opinions are usually based in, and backed up by, fact and empirical results. A question asked that requires supposition and thought-experiment type answers are generally purely opinion, and not really (and can not be) backed up by hard facts.


If your question is about:

  • Troubleshooting. Questions involving systematic analysis of a faulty system. Systems that may be related to 3D Printing:
    • Control Systems
    • Hardware (Mechanical or Electrical)
    • Software
    • Material
  • Repair/Maintenance. Questions requesting proper procedures for repairing or performing maintenance on 3D Printers.
  • Best Practices. Questions involving the identification or outlining of common procedures.
  • Technology. Questions requesting an explanation of how a particular 3D printing technology may work (Within appropriate bounds).
  • Material. Questions regarding technical specifications of 3D printable materials. This includes:
    • Proper use of a material in a given situation.
    • Identifying the proper material for a given situation
    • Standard printing preparation.
    • Material capabilities (Only related to 3D printed materials).
  • Capabilities. Questions verifying the capabilities of various 3D printing technologies for a particular style of object. For example, Is it possible to print a ball inside of another ball? Yes, it's a simple question, but not everyone knows the answer. That's why they're asking the question.
  • Services. Questions requesting details about related 3D printing services.
  • Part Design. Questions related to optimizing 3D designs for machining.
  • Software issues
    • Firmware
    • Tools
    • Coding/Compiling firmware (see Misc - Coding)
    • 3D modelling (see CAD below)
  • Websites (could come under Software and/or Tools)
    • Recommended sites
      • for knowledge
      • for models
      • for online tools
    • Issues with web based tools
  • CAD
    • If a CAD question is related to 3D printing then it is on-topic. However, general CAD questions, unrelated to 3D printing, are not on-topic. Likewise, with Blender - whilst there may be some overlap with SE.Blender, if the question is related to to 3D printing then it is on-topic.
  • Printer DIY
    • Repair and maintenance (both commercial and DIY repair of both commercial and DIY printers)
    • Construction
    • Mechatronics
  • Components (could come under Printer DIY)
    • For example, questions about RAMPS boards, stepper motors, thermal fuses, thermistors, etc. are on-topic
    • Help and Recommendations are on-topic when related to printer hardware upgrades and repair.
  • Electronics
    • Printer related electronics
    • Common electronic gotchas
  • Print Services
    • Print services questions, should not be asking for recommended service suppliers, but rather is it reasonable to ask such and such of a print service, or what do they usually provide, or is this a reasonable request to be made of a print service - again, these may only be able attract opinion based answers so again these questions are likely to be closed.
  • Scanning
  • Bio-printing
  • 3D Models
    • Feasibility
    • Availability
  • Sharing recommended settings
  • Legal issues
    • Copyright (i.e. Lego)
    • Guns/Weapons
    • Insurance (i.e. fire damage)
    • Legal issues may be asked, but as we are not lawyers then I Am Not A Lawyer (IANAL) should always apply. Generic legal questions can also be asked on SE.Law.
  • Manufacturers
    • Best manufacturer - Overall these general types of questions are opinion based and are off-topic.
  • Materials
    • Filament
    • ABS
    • PLA
    • PETG
    • etc.
  • Makerspaces
  • Medical
    • Materials for medical use
    • Medical quality printing
    • Medical applications for 3D printed objects
  • Health
    • Closely related, and may overlap with safety
  • Safety
    • Fumes
    • Print material suitability for foodstuffs
  • Non-3D Printing related
    • CNC
    • Laser etching
    • Routers
    • Vacuum Forming
    • Parts assembly
  • Misc
    • Not strictly 3D printing related but using G-code, see Non-3D Printing related above
    • Anything 3D printing related
      • Usage, durability, function, i.e. connecting 3D printed parts
      • Coding - For example, w.r.t. coding an alternative GUI for Ultimaker Cura question, if the question is about a technical aspect of 3D Printing (i.e. handshaking, control protocol) then that would be on-topic, whereas a pure coding issue would be more at home on StackOverflow.
      • Raspberry Pi - For example, questions about OctoPi or if the question is about a interfacing the RPi to a technical aspect of 3D Printing (i.e. handshaking, control protocol) then that would be on-topic, whereas a pure Raspberry Pi usage issue would be more at home on SE.Pi.
    • Other
      • FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)
      • FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
      • SLA (Stereo Lithography)
      • DLP (Digital Light Processing)
      • SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)
      • DLMS (Direct Laser Metal Smelting)

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

Please note that the following is off-topic:

  • Recommendations (Hardware and Software)
    • Note: Recommendation based questions are usually banned from SE - with the exception of SE.Hardware Recommendations. Recommendation-based questions really are off-topic, unless very specific indeed - and even then they may still end up being closed.
    • General Shopping - Overall these general types of questions are opinion based and are off-topic.
    • First printer - Overall these general types of questions are opinion based and are off-topic. See "Best first printer" wiki/blog/closed-question
    • Best printer
      • Overall these general types of questions are opinion based and are off-topic.
      • For specific task - opinion based but may be allowable (see note above), although speed as a task is in a very grey area... for example, a question about the fastest FDM printer would be closed for being opinion-based
    • Best software
      • Overall these general types of questions are opinion based and are off-topic.
      • For a specific 3D printing related task - opinion based but may be allowable (see note above)

I don't know if my question is on-Topic.

I have other questions regarding the site though...

Please regard the Help Center if you're new to the site or are unsure of what to do.