10 Top Tips on How to Enhance 3D Print Quality

3D print quality

3D printing is not as complicated as it appears to be, but it’s also not the easiest innovation to master in just one sitting. Getting quality end results from 3D printing doesn’t always come as easy as you want it to be. When you are not well-equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to operate a 3D printer, let alone its basics, enhancing the quality of your prints will become a challenge. So to help with that, we’ll give you a rundown of tips on how to enhance 3D print quality:

1. Get to Know Your 3D Printer

One of the most important and practical things you need to know about 3D printing, especially if you’re a newbie, is that every 3D printer is different. This is because each of them varies depending on their settings and modes, as well as the kind of safety features it offers that contribute to the final results of the 3D-printed object. 

That’s why before you proceed to buy one, see to it that you get to know your 3D printer of choice and do your research first, so you know exactly what it’s capable of. Even when you get to purchase a 3D printer, don’t stop trying to learn how to operate it and make use of its features. Take as much time as you need to learn and adjust to its settings and features.   

Related: Buying a 3D Printer: 5 Factors You Need to Know

2. Choose the Best Quality Materials

Skimping on the quality of materials you use in 3D printing isn’t the best idea, so make sure that you only go for the best quality materials as it will also contribute to the print quality. If you’re doing 3D printing at home, the most convenient and accessible way to do it is with fused deposition modeling or FDM printer because it is the most affordable and easiest method to 3D print. For FDM printers, thermoplastic filaments such as ABS, PLA, PVA, and PETG are the most common materials used. Although, of course, there are other varieties of materials and types of 3D printing methods that you can use. 

3. Take Note of the Temperature

If you want to produce quality print results, one of the best tips to be mindful of is to test the temperature. This is because temperature plays a significant role in the end results. For instance, if the nozzle becomes too hot, it can potentially leave strings of filament on the product, and may also make the product feeble and sticky. To avoid this, make sure to learn and know more about the materials you’re using because they have varying melting points. Doing this helps you know what temperature to set and what level it can be adjusted. 

4. Ensure Proper Maintenance

For a 3D printer to continue producing excellent quality prints, it’s important to ensure proper maintenance. Same as other electronic devices and technology advancements, failing to maintain your 3D printer can result in several electronic problems or breakdowns such as weak signals between the hardware modules. 

Remember that maintaining your 3D printer requires more than random upgrades and modifications — because it should be regularly done, and not only when you feel like it needs some upkeep. Regularly checking your 3D printer helps you to see if there are problems, which allows you to find solutions before it goes out of hand. Make sure as well that all bolts and belts are tightened because if they become loose, it may lead to print quality issues. 

Related: How to Maintain Your 3D Printer: 6 Tips and Tricks for You

5. Use a 3D Printer Slicer

A 3D printer slicer is a computer program that converts a 3D model into instructions for the printer to process or build an object. A slicer contains user-entered 3D printing parameters such as layer height, which is why it is the one responsible for dividing the object into thin layers and transforming it into movements that the printer can perform. To simply put, a 3D printer slicer virtually cuts 3D models into many horizontal 2D layers that will be printed. That’s why it’s necessary to use a quality slicer because it carries a lot of settings that can be handy in enhancing the printing process and the quality of the results. 

Note: Just like the 3D printer itself, it’s advisable to be familiar with how slicers work, so you can get the most out of its settings. 

6. Use a Support Structure

3D printers are able to print complex designs, which also means that not every product is easy to make since they come in different shapes and sizes. So to aid you in the process, you will need a support structure to keep the object from sagging and hanging, as well as maintain the quality of your prints. 

Although, it’s also noteworthy that not every 3D printing method requires support structures. FDM, DLS, and SLA are among the 3D printing methods that often need support to enhance print quality.

7. Regulate the Print Speed

Balance is essential to get quality prints from your 3D printer. And one of the ways to do it is by regulating the print speed — meaning, you have to regulate or reduce the printing speed. Doing this helps enhance the accuracy of the edges and corners of the model. Avoid printing at a high speed since it can result in overheating, which may cause warping and bending of the product, as well as gaps. 

8. Level Nozzle and Bed

As much as the nozzle and bed can be adjusted automatically by the 3D printer, it’s still much more advisable to level them manually to make sure that the bed is laid flat and the nozzle is placed at the best angle and distance above the bed. 

Note: You can manually adjust the nozzle and bed by placing a piece of paper beneath the nozzle to regulate the distance between the nozzle and bed. You’ll want to make sure that the paper will slide under without any resistance. 

9. Don’t Forget to Close the Gaps

Gaps are the result of under-extrusion. Under-extrusion happens when there is a lack of filament being extruded during the printing process, which affects the quality of the product, leaving it with gaps, holes, missing layers, and even insufficient layers. To avoid gaps, you may have to reduce the print speed so that the nozzle and filament can form a bond. In addition to that, you can also opt to increase the fill rate to close the gaps. 

10. Never Skip the Post-Processes

Post-processing is any process or task that needs to be done to the printed part or model, as well as any technique used to enhance the 3D print quality. Same with other crafts and creations, this process serves as the finishing touch to refine the product. However, do bear in mind that the post-processes may have to vary depending on the materials you used during the printing process itself. 

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