Skip to main content

3D Printing Overview & Help

Once you get all setup and ready to print you'll run into some terms and concepts that are common in all 3D Printing... here is a good overview so you know what each mean and how to use and modify them to fit what you are wanting to accomplish via your new 3D printer!! - www.makergeeks.com


SLICING

Slicing is the process of turning your 3D model into a toolpath for your 3D printer. We call it slicing because the first thing the slicing engine does is cut your 3D model into thin horizontal layers. MakerBot uses a few different slicing engines in our software, and all of them let you change settings that affect the way they generate a toolpath for your model. If you're having trouble getting your objects to come out the way you want them, the answer may be somewhere in these settings. Here's an overview of some common concepts in 3D printing and what your options are.

SLICERS

MakerBot Slicer. The MakerBot Slicer is MakerBot's own slicing engine. It’s super fast, and we’re adding improvements all the time. MakerBot Slicer is the slicer used for the three default profiles in MakerWare, and it's also available in ReplicatorG 0037 and later.
Skeinforge. Skeinforge is an extremely customizable slicing engine that has given most of us our best prints but it's also slow and has a steep learning curve. Skeinforge is the primary slicer in ReplicatorG.
Slic3r. Slic3r is a slicing engine created by the open source community. It's never been optimized for use with MakerBots, but we've made it available for experimentation in the most recent versions of ReplicatorG.

LAYER HEIGHT

Layer height is basically equivalent to vertical resolution in 3D printed objects. It's like pixels in a digital image, or thread count in sheets. The thinner the layer, the more layers per millimeter and the smoother the texture of your built object. The only problem with small layers is that they make you build take longer -- for every layer you print at a layer height of .3 mm, you have to print three layers, each one taking just as much time, at a layer height of .1 mm.
The standard nozzle size on recent MakerBots is .4 mm. That's about the diameter of the plastic noodle that emerges from your extruder, and, theoretically, .4 mm is the highest layer height you can print with this nozzle. But at that layer height, each extruded noodle of plastic would just barely touch the top of the previous layer, making for a weak object. We generally don't try to build things with layer heights higher than .34 mm with a .4 mm nozzle.
The other end of the layer height spectrum is also complicated. By making adjustments to slicing settings, some MakerBot users have achieved layer heights well under .1 mm, but fairly low layer heights should be achievable out of the box. Start with a .15 mm layer height on The Replicator or Replicator 2X, or .1 mm on Replicator 2 and work your way down from there.

BUILD SPEED

Build speed is a combination of a couple of different things: The feed rate is the speed at which your extruder is moving. The flow rate is the rate at which plastic is extruding. With stepper motor extruders -- a category that includes all MakerBot extruders since the MK6 Stepstruder -- it's generally best to set these both to the same speed, so when you set your Feedrate in ReplicatorG or your Speed While Extruding in MakerWare, you are editing both of those rates.
The tradeoff with build speed is between fast build times and high object quality. Very fast build times can cause rough textures and breaks in the extruded noodle of plastic.

TEMPERATURE

Extrusion temperature is the temperature the extruder heats to during your build. It depends on a few other variables, mainly the properties of the plastic filament and your build speed.
Different plastics melt at different temperatures -- and in different ways. PLA makes a solid to liquid transition, like that of ice to water, and melts at extrusion temperatures from about 180C up. It also gets shinier and, with translucent colors, clearer when it's extruded at higher temperatures. ABS makes a more gradual transition, and softens enough to be extruded somewhere around 215C.
Higher build speeds require higher extrusion temperatures. That's because our plastics take time to melt, as well as high temperatures. The faster the plastic is being pulled through the extruder, the higher the extrusion temperature needs to be to melt it quickly enough. We use a temperature of 220C for ABS and PLA at speeds of 40 mm/s and lower, and 230C at speeds up to about 100 mm/s. These temperatures are optimized for use with both kinds of plastic, but PLA can often extrude at much lower temperatures.
You can also adjust your build plate temperature if you're using a bot with a heated build plate. ABS really needs to be printed on a heated surface, and should stick well to Kapton tape over heated aluminum between temperatures of 100C and 120C. PLA sticks to non-heated surfaces, but larger PLA objects print well on plates heated to between 40C and 60C.

SHELLS AND INFILL

Each layer of a given object is going to be divided into two parts: shells and infill. The shells, also known as perimeters, are extruded outlines defining the shape of the layer. Extra shells strengthen objects. Infill is what happens in the space left over. It's usually extruded in some kind of pattern -- the MakerBot Slicer and Skeinforge both use a hexagonal pattern for infill by default. The main setting you're dealing with here, though, is infill percentage. More infill will make an object stronger. Less will make it lighter and quicker to build. Before you build something, think about how much infill it will actually need. Objects for display often won't need more than 10% infill, while even objects that are going to see hard use rarely need more than 80% infill. Not using more infill than necessary will help you save time and plastic.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison of Flexible 3D Printer Filament - Ninja Flex vs Maker Flex

Comparison of Flexible 3D Printer Filament - Ninja Flex vs Maker FlexMAKER FLEX
FLEXIBLE 3D PRINTER FILAMENT FINALLY AN ALTERNATIVE TO NINJAFLEX THAT'S MADE IN THE USA! 
THE MAKER FLEX DIFFERENCE: Trade-marked high-strength engineering grade flexible resinShore Hardness of 40 (Rubber Band Soft feel)Polyester-based thermoplastic elastomer (TPEE)UV StableWater tight and stable for underwater applicationsStyrene-freeBPA FreeFDA Compliant for Food contact1KG Spool (2.20lbs)(Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.05mm)Low to NO odorNear zero warp-age or shrinkageVacuumed Sealed With DesiccantLow moisture absorption Sourced and Manufactured in the USAAffordable - we make it, you save big!! Spool Diameter: 7.94" - Spool Width: 2.50" - Spool Hub Hole Diameter: 2" Maker Flex series of 3D printing filaments are a polyester-based thermoplastic elastomer (TPEE). Maker Flex is an engineering elastomer combining the properties of rubbers and engineering plastics, thus bridging the gap between …

News from the Maker Desk

News from the Maker Desk
Happy Monday to you... hope you are doing great today; wanted to share something that was on my heart this morning about MakerGeeks and what’s going on and what the next steps are for us.

Almost 3 years ago we started selling 3D Printer filament(all of it from China) and over the next 2 years saw a booming business come out of those items; reselling filaments from China, Germany and the Netherlands. About a year and a half ago we started with a single extruder and a dream to start making 3D printer filament in bulk scale here on US soil… back then I thought that 1 extruder and me working part time would make more filament than I could sell in a life-time. Well, within just a few months we had bought another extrusion line and hired our first full time operator just to keep up with demand.

Now, surly we would have enough filament to last a life-time; NOPE… in just a few more months we added another extrusion line and lots and lots of overtime and weekends. Now we…

How to Use Ninja Flex PLA on a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer

How to Use Ninja Flex PLA on a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer

NinjaFlex's unique flexibility and smooth feeding characteristics enable you to create in ways you never thought possible. Open a world of possibilities, limited only by your imagination. NinjaFlex, a cutting-edge filament for 3D printers, is a specially formulated thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) that produces flexible prints with elastic properties. Patent pending technology allows for smooth feeding and clean, high-quality printed parts. Features: Filament shore hardness of approximately 85AConsistent diameter and material properties provide reliable, high quality printsPatent pending technology allows for smooth feedingLow tack, low CoF exterior allows smooth feed through filament guidesHigh elasticity and excellent abrasion resistanceExcellent build platform adhesion and bonding between layersREACH and RoHS 2002/95/EC Directive Compliant1.75mm filament spool = .50 kg3.00mm filament spool = .75 kgProcessing Guidelines: Re…