Uncommon Printing Fails
Some printing fails are less common but still have grave results. Much like starting a fire in your home, some printing mishaps leave you no choice but to start a project over or, worse case, purchase a new printer.
From those that have resulted in printer suicide to actual fires, failures come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few uncommon ones that are still rectifiable.
Warping happens when there is thermal stress that builds up during printing. It is most common when using high warp plastic material like amorphous material. Any material that is made up of tightly bound molecular structures has the chance to warp during the printing process.
The warping is caused by those molecular structures loosening during the heating phase. These molecular structures then cool and, instead of relaxing, retain the orientation in the direction of flow.
Now your vase looks like a misshapen blob of plastic. An easy fix to this is:
- Make sure to use a heated build plate
- Level the build plate
- Check the fan settings for cooling
- Use a draft shield
By following the above steps, you have taken the first step in creating beautiful foolproof projects. You also are avoiding a costly mistake, so there will be no more wasted filament and warped creations.
Broken Build Plate
There are several types of build plates available. A common mistake is to use glass when printing using adhesives. Printing directly on glass can cause chunks of glass to be ripped when removing your project.
The reason this occurs is that you need a barrier between the glass and the project during the cooling phase. A quick fix for this is the MakerBot Plate Tape, which is around $10 on Amazon.
There are many types of tapes and shields available. The trick is finding the one that works best for you. They will save you money and heartache during the printing process.
Right Project, Wrong Filament
The filament can make or break a project. Some filament is more forgiving to beginner creators. Others are better for experienced creators or larger projects. Consider your project needs and your experience with printing when choosing your filament.
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is the most common and easiest to work with:
- No need for a heating bed
- Multiple colors to choose from
Consider there are a few downsides to PLA:
- Mechanical properties are less than desirable
If you are looking for something more durable, we suggest ABS. This filament is what they make Legos with! Choosing the right filament for your needs and project is the first step to successful printing experiences. Consider the pros and cons each filament comes with when choosing.
Beginner filaments are easy to work with and are more forgiving. They come in all types of material, including those that offer a gradient color variation. BioFila is a biodegradable filament. There are different types of biodegradable filament.
Biodegradables are a great filament for environment-conscious creators. Failed projects can be thrown away without fear of adding to environmental waste.
There are filaments that take some experience to work with. While they turn out beautiful projects, they are less forgiving should something happen.
- Carbon Fiber
The more professional filament you use, the more chances of a mistake. Beginner filaments are great for most projects. They are easy to work with. If a mistake is made, they are more cost-effective.
Common Printing Fails
So far, the discussion has revolved around the worst printing fails. There are common ones that happen to even the most experienced users. Everything has happened from nozzle clogging to unsupported overhangs.
While some failures mean no do-over for printers, there are a few less detrimental ones. But even the smallest mistake can cost you time and money. Most are easily avoidable for the informed creator. Consider the following to avoid these failures.
Calibration is important regardless of the printer you are using. A calibration cube is a great method to aid in this process. But even this can come with mistakes. This cube will show any slack in the printing belts on the X- and Y-axis.
If you wind up with a “wiggly” cube, your belts are either too loose or too tight. You will wind up with a slanted cube every time unless your belts are just the right setting. You may need to make a few calibration cubes to test your belts.
Consider writing down any tweaks you make to the belts. This will make the calibration process easier. This method gives you a way to track your steps and avoid further mistakes.
Power failures are another common fail that comes with printing. A project will not complete if there is a power failure or outage of some kind. There are a few printers that have a built-in fix for this. The Official Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of these printers.
It has a resume print function should a power failure or outage happen. This function saves unfinished projects by resuming from the last recorded extruder position. So no more incomplete projects and is especially helpful for those times you may experience less than ideal situations. While this function is great, it does come at a higher price.
- Costs around $250
- Will require extra setup
- Oftentimes can still fail
Importance of Choosing the Right Printer and Tools
There are many types of printers, filament, and accessories to make the process easier. Keep in mind your personal needs while shopping around. Consider the projects you will be working on. The durability you will need and the extra settings you may need or want.
Depending on what you are looking for will affect the overall price of your printer. The right one will help you to avoid the failures of others. Many creators end up upgrading their printers once they have gotten the hang of things.
Amazon has several printers and tools for reasonable prices. Such as AMX3D Pro Grade Printer Tool Kit used to clean your projects. And for $50, it is a great buy for even the beginner creator. Checking some of the creator forums will yield experienced advice and the tools others have used to be successful.
Ultimately it is important to remember that even with all the preparedness, there is a chance to fail. The best creators were not made overnight. Many had to go through mistakes to get to the perfect creation.
As technology advances in the 3D printing field, creators will be available to avoid many of these failures. But till then, consider the necessary precautions when starting your new adventure with 3D printing.