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49
votes
9answers
77k views

How do I give 3D-printed parts in PLA a shiny smooth finish?

The surfaces of my printed parts using PLA plastic look rough and uneven. Would changing filament to a better one make any difference? If not, what kind of methods can I use to achieve a smoother ...
37
votes
5answers
3k views

How is PLA different from ABS material?

What are the main differences when using ABS over PLA and vice versa?
36
votes
7answers
39k views

When to use 1.75 mm vs 3 mm filament?

Why do we have two standard filament sizes, 1.75 mm and 3 mm? Does it really make a difference when printing? Or is the 1.75 mm just for smaller printers? In what situations should I ...
33
votes
7answers
16k views

Will 3D Printed Dice Be Fair?

Is there anything to the process of 3D printing that might make the dice unfair/land on a specific side more frequently? Or will any imperfections be negligible, thus making the dice fair? I'm more ...
30
votes
4answers
4k views

Is 3D printing safe for your health?

I would like to buy a 3D printer, but I'm concerned about the health risks that are associated with its operation. Some groups of scientists say it can be harmful for humans. What do I need to ...
30
votes
5answers
32k views

What air filtration options exist for enclosures?

Given the emissions that 3d printing gives off (ABS = styrene and other chemicals, PLA give some off, etc), what options are there to filter the air in the enclosure other than venting the air out of ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

Designing clips that won't break

As my first project, I'm trying to design a holder for glass vials, for a scientific application. The photo below shows the latest design iteration, and also shows the problem with it: As you can see,...
29
votes
2answers
2k views

How to recycle filament material from printed parts?

Is it possible to re-use ABS or PLA filament material from printed parts? If so, what is the techniques to reform it?
28
votes
2answers
20k views

What are main differences between rafts, skirts and brims?

I would like to understand the differences between rafts, skirts and brims. They appear in the software which I'm using to edit my 3D objects. Can anybody elaborate what are these and what are the ...
27
votes
11answers
17k views

Why do the corners of my ABS object lift off the bed?

I print ABS on a LulzBot Taz 5 and frequently have issues with the corners of objects lifting off the bed. My extruder is at 230 °C and the bed is at 90 °C for the first layer and 100 °...
26
votes
4answers
22k views

What are the advantages of gyroid infill?

I've seen a few print time-lapse videos lately which use gyroid infill: wavy lines, which deform across layers so that the waves end up alternating between the two axes. Other than making the time-...
24
votes
5answers
5k views

How should I clean my extruder when changing materials?

I often switch my print material, i.e. ABS / PLA / Wood / Flex, How can I best clean out my extruder between them to ensure I don't contaminate my next print?
24
votes
3answers
51k views

How do I determine the acceleration value for my printer?

When the print head changes direction, the printer must accelerate and decelerate the print head. When calibrated correctly, the printer is able to do this quickly and without causing the printer to ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Does filament have to be stored in an airtight environment?

For standard ABS and PLA filament, most distributors recommend storing the filament in an airtight bag. Does not doing this actually make print quality worse? I have left mine in the open for a year ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Do stepper motors require any maintenance?

I've had my printer for almost a year now. Is there something I should be doing to maintain the motors?
22
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the benefit of using an ARM based electronics?

Most electronics use micro-controllers like an AVR, but I'm seeing ARM chips in new electronics. ARM chips are said to be more powerful, but in what areas related to 3D printing could this help? What ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Which are the food-safe materials and how do I recognize them?

What materials which are commonly used in 3D printing, are food-safe? Are there any certifications/grading process for such materials, which can help me with my cross-checking and selection? I have ...
22
votes
6answers
70k views

How can I best clean the print bed after a print?

I've occasionally had issues with excess filament residue getting stuck to the print bed. There are ways to prevent this, but sometimes even these precautions aren't enough. Over time, residue can ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

How to get consistent and accurate readings from thermocouples?

I upgraded to an Mk9 dual extruder, and it came with thermocouples installed instead of the thermistors I had before. No matter what I did with the thermocouples, the indicated temperature jumped ...
21
votes
3answers
34k views

Is there a G-code for waiting?

My printer has an auto-leveling feature that works by touching the build plate with the tip of the nozzle. I started using a BuildTak surface and BuildTak is damaged when you push a hot nozzle into ...
21
votes
5answers
11k views

Advantages of PETG filament?

I was just shopping for filament, and saw some glowing claims about PETG being as easy to work with as PLA, but as strong as ABS, and less brittle. Anyone know if that's actually true, or what the ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Mushy small top layers?

I just added a fan to my printer because very small layers seem to come out very badly. For example, the 5mm PLA cube that's the top level of the test shape shown below. Watching closely, I can see ...
21
votes
5answers
48k views

What is PLA+? How is it different from PLA?

Question What is PLA+? How is it different than PLA? I'm looking for science, composition, formula, safety concerns (or lack thereof), etc. Background I picked up a roll of PLA+ at Microcenter (...
20
votes
3answers
9k views

Should I enclose my 3D Printer?

I have a home built RepRap with all sides open.. Would there be any advantage to enclosing the print area in acrylic?
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Are there any ways to make a 3D print transparent?

I am aware of several "clear" filaments for a ABS or PLA printer. They, however, have a cloudy or frosted glass appearance. I do not believe this is possible to eliminate but I believe it can be ...
20
votes
2answers
586 views

Chocolate printing

I have seen lots of printers that print chocolate using a syringe with molten chocolate. But, even cooler, would it be possible to print chocolate using some kind of feed system for continuous ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

How to print metal-like parts?

I would like to print parts (e.g. jewellery) for use which I don't want to look or feel like a plastic, but metal-like, so briefly people won't see much difference. Are there any specific type of ...
19
votes
5answers
34k views

Which is more durable to sunlight/weather - PLA, ABS or PETG

The backstory: I'm installing a pigeon net in my home. Because of the shape of the opening I'm installing the net in and the material on the sides it's difficult to anchor the net using the normal ...
19
votes
5answers
7k views

Can aged PLA be refurbished?

Inspired by another question and due to the fact that some of my filament will face the same problem when I will use them again, I wanted to know if there are proven recipies to get rid of water that ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Would 3d-printed objects outgas in vacuum?

I want to fabricate a sample holder and shadow masks to use in vacuum chambers. The type of printing material is not important to me PLA/ABS/PC-ABS/nylon). I'm worried that 3d printed objects (FDM) ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the reasons for my 3D prints having large numbers of strings between parts of a layer?

I am printing a print using PLA on a Prusa i3 printer and an MK8 extruder, at 210 degrees celsius, 60 mm/sec, sliced with slic3r. The print consists of a base, with 4 tower-like projections that then ...
19
votes
4answers
11k views

What to do with failed/unwanted 3D prints?

I am planning on getting a 3D printer soon and I was just wondering, what do you do with 3D prints that either failed or were prototypes that you no longer want? I tried looking online but the closest ...
18
votes
12answers
32k views

What could be causing my y axis to slip?

Occasionally, while printing, my y axis will slip and the layer will, from that point forward, be shifted, ruining the print. What might be the causes of an axis slipping? I have tried cooling the ...
18
votes
8answers
31k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an all-metal hot end compared to one with a PTFE heat break?

Related to an issue I had in this question, where the PTFE tube feeding my filament to the metal tip of the extruder clogged and became discolored: what are the advantages and disadvantages of ...
18
votes
2answers
13k views

What are the parts that make up a hotend, and what do they do?

My first and only 3D printer is a Printrbot Simple Metal, which has a hotend that doesn't expose any of its internal parts. Easy for beginners, I suppose: "The hotend is that tube that heats up the ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I mix ABS and PLA when recycling filament?

I'm thinking of recycling some filament from a couple of recently failed prints. I can reuse them in the future for basic prototypes, so I'm not concerned with whatever weird mixture of colors come ...
18
votes
4answers
12k views

How do I keep my extruder head from getting clogged?

Using a thermoplastic MDF printer with a 0.4mm extruder nozzle, I frequently have trouble with the nozzle getting clogged. I am not sure what's causing the clog, but my guesses are dust and/or burnt ...
18
votes
5answers
17k views

How to identify nozzle wear

E3D-Online and1) Make Magazine havehas written about the potential damage printing carbon fiber and glow in the dark filaments can do to your printer's nozzle. What I can't seem to find is what ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How important is the minimum layer height on a 3d printer?

I know the minimum layer height will effect how detailed of an item you can print and the amount of time it takes to print something, but is it necessary to have an extremely low minimum layer height ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Filament extrudes at an angle

On one of the nozzles on my printer, the filament comes out at a 45 degree angle. It seems that this causes problems with adhesion to the bed and overall quality. What caused this problem? How do I ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

What can I use to “sand” my ABS prints?

I have a 3d printer that uses ABS filament. The software I use will generate vertical supports for my objects before printing that can be easily broken off after they have been used during print to ...
17
votes
5answers
12k views

Drilling 3D-printed plastic

I need to do some post processing of my 3D-printed models that includes adding some holes. For each of PLA, ABS, PETG and other 3D-printing materials: In what ways is drilling a hole in a model made ...
17
votes
5answers
16k views

How to achieve dimensional accuracy of printed parts

When designing parts that should either fit with external objects or other printed parts, what measures can one take to ensure that the dimensions of the final print are accurate and fit the other ...
17
votes
4answers
260 views

Resolution Drawbacks

With an ABS or PLA extrusion 3D printer, are there any potentially negative quality differences that could occur if I try to print at a higher resolution? I am not concerned about print time as the ...
17
votes
8answers
33k views

Ideal print bed: Glass or Aluminium?

Glass is always level, easy to clean, easy to work with. Aluminium allows for the addition of automatic bed leveling with an inductive sensor and distributes heat a little more evenly. When printing ...
17
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the best 3D modeling software for a beginner on a 3D printed mini barrel project?

My goal is to 3D print a 5 liter miniature barrel with a side stand, similar to this wooden one on Amazon. I want it to have a removable top so that a boxed wine bladder may be put inside, and there ...
17
votes
4answers
336 views

Are there any metals that exhibit a large glass state?

Plastic is used in 3D FDM/FFF printing partly because it had a wide temperature range for its glass state - where it can be flowed with some force, but won't flow due only to gravity. Most metals ...
17
votes
2answers
15k views

Why all the excitement about linear rails?

Whenever a 3D printer that uses linear rails is announced (case in point: the cetus), the Internet (well... at least that corner of it dealing with 3D printing) gets abuzz with excitement. I ...
16
votes
3answers
22k views

Can you put PLA parts in your car (in the sun)?

I'm in the process of building my own head unit / stereo prototype for a car, which will have a 3D-printed enclosure. My concern is that cars can get quite hot in the sun, and even more so if you ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I 3D-print fair dice?

As 3D printers become more and more reliable, their prints get better and better. But FDM printers do have their problems too: you print tiny ovals that smooch together at the edges, and infill makes ...

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