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

PLA parts can be finished with a coat of epoxy like XTC-3D from Smooth-On. This will smooth out the part and give it a pretty nice shine. I've also had a fair amount of success sanding prints, giving ...
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30 votes
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When to use 1.75 mm vs 3 mm filament?

There's no appreciable difference. Just use the filament that fits your particular printer. If you don't yet have a printer, then I'd get one that uses 1.75 mm filament: 1.75 mm is ...
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29 votes

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

Acetone vaporing is a great way to smooth ABS prints. For PLA, however, acetone smoothing does not work. An article about smoothing PLA says: This is a pity, since PLA is much easier to work with ...
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  • 1,076
28 votes
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How is PLA different from ABS material?

Paraphrasing this site. Feel free to add suggestions in the form of comments and I will try to incorporate them. Summary ABS: Stronger, machinable, more flexible, and more temperature resistant than ...
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  • 1,503
24 votes
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Can aged PLA be refurbished?

The easiest way to freshen up filament is hot air, although there are other options. There is an optimal melt processing moisture level for every plastic, typically in the range of 0.1-0.2% water ...
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  • 6,446
22 votes
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How does one use a heat tower?

When you slice an STL of a heat tower, you need to tell the slicer that you need a different temperature at a certain level and maintain that new temperature until another change is requested. The ...
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  • 30.6k
18 votes
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Can I mix ABS and PLA when recycling filament?

This is not a good idea. Both filaments have different melting points, that of ABS being much higher than that of PLA. To melt the ABS you have to heat the plastic to the point where the PLA starts to ...
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18 votes
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Is PLA filament conductive?

Normal PLA is non-conductive. You can take an $\Omega$-meter to a test part if you're really concerned somehow you have some PLA that is conductive. There is a caveat that your color may include metal ...
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  • 196
17 votes

When to use 1.75 mm vs 3 mm filament?

There are a few factors to consider those two: 3 mm More rigid - easier to print with flexible plastics. I couldn't make my 1.75 mm printer print with NinjaFlex using standard Bowden extruder. Can ...
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  • 436
16 votes

When to use 1.75 mm vs 3 mm filament?

I generally agree with the points in masteusz's and Tom van der Zanden's answers, but I would add a bit more detail. Generally, the differences are minimal, however: Generally speaking, a 1.75 ...
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  • 363
16 votes
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What to do with failed/unwanted 3D prints?

The "obvious" answer is re-grinding the prints and making more filament. Unfortunately, this isn't yet a very economical or simple operation. A decent filament extruder capable of holding acceptable ...
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  • 6,446
15 votes
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Does filament have to be stored in an airtight environment?

It makes a difference where I live, and I'm not in a particularly humid climate (California). When printing with wet filament, you'll sometimes hear it popping and see steam coming out of the ...
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  • 668
14 votes
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How to print metal-like parts?

If you'd like to print on RepRap like FDM printers, you cannot print from metal, but you can use some filament that tries to look like metal. I have good experience with Bronzefill, but there are ...
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  • 1,076
14 votes
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Can 1.75 mm filament be used in a printer that takes 3 mm filament?

Typically an extruder and hot end are designed for one or the other, and cannot support the other without mechanical changes. The extruder may not be able to grip a smaller diameter filament with ...
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  • 1,803
14 votes
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Filament isn't going into the Bowden tube, instead it goes "into the room"

This is typically caused by resistance in the tube or hotend but in your case it appears to be mostly caused by a very poorly designed extruder. The filament needs to be constrained closer to the ...
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  • 2,090
13 votes

Advantages of PETG filament?

I have never used ABS, because I have a young child at home and no ventilation system (just to be safe). I have however used PETG, a crystal clear brand competitively priced on AMA-ssive online ...
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  • 421
13 votes
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Scalable 3D Printer

One big challenge with scaling anything up (or down), is that not all properties or characteristics scale linearly. Consider a trivial case: a small cube. If you double the size, you've quadrupled ...
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  • 3,181
13 votes

Is PLA filament conductive?

PLA itself falls in the category of non-conductors, with a resistivity ($\rho=R\frac A l=\frac 1 \sigma$) in the order of $10^{16}\ \Omega \text m$ (see here), similar to other plastics. Following ...
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12 votes
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Advantages of PETG filament?

PETG is great stuff to work with. It is stronger than ABS also. It prints slower than ABS and PLA. The formulas vary quite a bit from vendor to vendor. I have used 3 brands, and each of their ...
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12 votes
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What is PLA+? How is it different from PLA?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any linked brand or company, I just link to them for reference of the suggested print settings. What is PLA? PLA is, by its definition PolyLacticAcid, a polymer of ...
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  • 19.4k
12 votes
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PLA wood filament: a special treatment?

PLA and wood fibres = wood filament Most wood filamet consists of about 60-70 % PLA and 40-30 % wood fibres. This basically implies that PLA temperatures should be used. It can be printed with ...
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  • 30.6k
11 votes

When to use 1.75 mm vs 3 mm filament?

I think (as do a lot of others) that the differences are rather minor. So just my 2 things I know from experience. We've been using 3 mm for some years and now we are moving towards 1.75. 1.75 mm ...
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  • 1,076
11 votes
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What is stopping us from mixing 3D filament colors in an Extruder?

I just started with google and phrase "3d printing color mixing" and on the first place (in fact first two were valueless adverts) I got this Instructables - DIY Full Color Mixing 3D Printer. How it ...
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  • 3,438
11 votes
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What do I do when I have a little filament left?

Heat the extruder up first, then remove the filament. You can remove the filament either by reversing the extruder using a command such as G1 E-100 F200, by using ...
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11 votes
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POM filament not sticking to the build plate?

Great material but very hard to print as it does not stick easy to the build plate as it has a low friction coefficient to grip onto the heated bed. Also, the material sets quite fast, once the ...
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  • 30.6k
10 votes

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

It takes quite an effort to make PLA shiny, and it's not as simple as ABS and acetone. You have to sand down the print with sandpaper with different grit sizes (start with grit P100, then P240, P400, ...
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  • 1,911
10 votes
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How to choose a right 3D printer filament type?

Determine what properties you need the filament to have. There are a very wide variety of filaments because they all have somewhat different properties. You need to determine what properties you need ...
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  • 960
10 votes
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Why does my PLA filament form a spiral shape and clog my extruder?

The shape you get is quite easy to explain. It's the shape of the lowest energy possible in your situation. Simple but it doesn't explain the issue... or does it? It does. The filament cannot be put ...
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  • 3,438
10 votes
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Why is PEEK filament so expensive?

My assumptions about PEEK filament price are: Raw material is more expensive. Compare price of ABS with PEEK pellets. Demand is much lower. There are not many printers able to print peek. If you ...
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  • 1,911
9 votes
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Multi-color printing with desktop 3D printer?

The most obvious solution is to pause the print and swap filament for another color. Another option is to splice pieces of filament together, though this does not allow very precise control of when ...
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