We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The developers of the one of the most advanced if not the most advanced slicer for 3D printers – Simplify3D, have published a very useful resource for anyone having various issues with their 3D prints. The print quality troubleshooting guide is a great place to start if you are trying to improve the quality of your 3D printed parts by first identifying what possible issues you might be experiencing and then learning how to get rid of them. The guide offers a big list of the most common 3D printing issues along with the software settings that you can use to solve them and the best is that there are real world photos of the issues in action to make identifying them even easier.
Pretty much anyone that has used a 3D printer has experienced some of these issues and had to deal with them and had to try to resolve them. We have published some tips for some of the issues we’ve encountered while 3D printing ourselves, but the Simplify 3D guide is a more extensive one and some of the tips you get can also help you with using better the Simplify3D software. Other tips for resolving issues can be fixed regardless of the software you use, but having a slicer that allows you more control over the printing process like Simplify3D can be quite helpful at times. The guide can even help you find out that you might be having a problem that needs attention and you were thinking that this was the normal behavior of your device, this is especially true for novice users that do not have a lot of experience with 3D printers.
A new and apparently very useful tool called MODIFI3D has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter backed by a company called Steelmans that has over 30 years manufacturing experience. The tool is intended for everyone using FFF/FDM 3D printers for printing to help them clean the printed 3D model from support material leftovers and help in even improving some details that might need some postprocessing work. MODIFI3D is a heated tool with interchangeable tips designed to finish, repair and modify 3D printed parts and is much like a small soldering iron with specialized set of tips. It has been designed to replace some of the sanding, scraping and snapping often needed to finish off your 3D prints and comes with 4 interchangeable tips – needle, knife, scoop and point tips.
– 5V 8W
– Size: 15mm (0.6″) x 117mm (4.6″) excluding tips
– Weight: 20g (0.8 oz)
– Cable: 1.5m (59″) long to USB A plug
– Heats up to 420-450ºC (788-842ºF) in less than 15 seconds
– Works with PLA, ABS, Nylon and other 3D printing plastics
MODIFI3D is going to be affordable and very useful with early bird Kickstarter pricing of just 10 UK Pounds (about $15 USD or 14 Euro) and a regular pricing of 15 UK Pounds or about $23 USD or 21 Euro. According to the project page the first 300 early bird backers will get their tool in January and regular backers should have the MODIFI3D tool in their hands some time in February 2016, so not much waiting.
The guys at E3D have published an interesting article with information regarding the wear level of standard brass nozzles used in most FFF/FDM 3D printers nowadays when printing with abrasive filaments. They have made some tests using the ColorFabb XT-CF20 carbon fiber filament printing it with a standard brass nozzle and then with a new hardened steel nozzle that they are now offering as a great solution to working with abrasive 3D printer filaments. It seems that a standard brass nozzle can get pretty worn off after printing just about 250g of ColorFabb XT-CF20 3D printer filament as you can see on the photo above (left is brass nozzle, right is hardened steel nozzle). As a comparison the hardened steel nozzles they are selling do not show any notable wear even after printing 10 times more abrasive filament. So if you are using more exotic filaments that contain more abrasive elements in them, then you should really consider going for a more abrasive resistant nozzle. Unfortunately the hardened steel nozzles being sold by E3D are designed for the extruders that they are also making or other similar models, so if your 3D printer uses a different extruder you should look for alternatives.
The solution to the wear of the nozzle we have found out to work well for the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer that we are using is in the form of specially coated nozzles from a company called AVN Swiss (now apparently renamed to Micro Swiss) and we would recommend to get not only a nozzle, but the thermal barrier tube they sell as well. Earlier this month we have tested the same ColorFabb XT-CF20 carbon fiber filament that E3D used and after printing about 200 grams of it with the specially coated nozzle from AVN Swiss we did not notice any wear on the nozzle and we have used it with other abrasive filaments prior to that. So MakerBot Replicator 2 and other MakerBot users as well as ones that have a clone 3D printer to check these upgrade nozzles or even better the whole hotend upgrade.