Author Topic: How to get started?  (Read 274 times)

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How to get started?
« on: February 10, 2023, 08:23:40 AM »
I’ve followed along here and other places and it seems like 3D printing can be exceptionally awesome while also being extremely frustrating.

I have long lamented the lack of modern farming equipment, grain silos, elevators, etc and ran across this on one of the 3D pages while looking for something else:

Surely its not as easy as buy a printer, load the files, and push start. Right?

Help me out as a newbie trying to understand if I want to make the jump to doing this type of stuff or not.


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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2023, 09:20:48 AM »
The basics first:

All home printing starts with an STL or Stereolithography file (.stl)

These are typically generated from an accurate 3D cad model that someone created (a whole other hobby/learning curve)

The stl file is loaded into a slicer application, usually provided by the printer maker (Anycubic in my case), or a competing application, Chitu, Lychee, etc.

Note: Printers have firmware- a warning: ONLY use the firmware that is compatible with the slicer AND printer.  Most horror stories I hear are due to firmware updates.  The Microsoft Windows model makes folks think that firmware is a necessary update, its not.

Once the stl file is loaded into the slicer software, printing supports are required to support the finished model as it is process in the primordial goo, called resin else it will float off the build plate any you will only have wasted resin.

Also within this software you will find the settings, per sliced file, that will instruct the printer on how to process the intended file, layer thickness, exposure time etc.

Once the file is saved to the thumb drive that came with the machine, you have 1/4 of the task complete.

Now for the printer there are two tasks 2/4:

1: INSTALL A SCREEN PROTECTOR that covers ALL of the screen, and the surrounding area.  Resin spills will cost you if they get on the screen surface,  There are materials on the screen that can easily be ruined.

2:Leveling the build plate, which is essentially making sure the gap between the screen and build plate is specific, parallel and equidistant.

3: Maintaining the resin vat- the clear drum-like material that is between the resin and the screen is known as FEP, and as NFEP (many are choosing NFEP now).  The FEP is the ONLY thing between the resing and the screen (hence the recommendation to buy a screen protector.

Note: There are three expendable devices in the machine, the LCD screen, the UV array, and the user interface screen.

Choosing a resin 3/4- purely subjective and their performance is subject to ambient temperature, odor can be an issue, i.e. Siraya, little smell, Anycubic really noticeable difference stronger smell to me.

Note: each and every resin uses slightly different settings, and each printer has variations in the ability to produce those settings, so testing and adjustment of those settings are common and necessary to hone in on a decent print.

Post print processing 4/4:

1: Removing supports form the intended model- this is where you learn what your support choices that were made in the slicing software affect the final print.  I always remove the supports prior to curing the model

2: Removing any printing overexposure.  I like to shave off any pooling that occurs around the points of the supports.  So far I have found the pooling to be completely unavoidable and will make some model surfaces look like swollen skin around pimple pockmarks that are left behind hen the supports are removed.

3: Cleaning the model, subjective- I use a 3 step dipping and brushing method first rinse in a tub of 99% IPA to remove most of the excess resin, a second tub of 99% IPA, and finally a short Ultrasonic cleaner bath in a tub of Acetone (I'll get lambasted for this but it really helps remove any remaining resin film on the model.

4: Inspect that the model is what you wanted

5: UV cure the part in a curing machine or a homemade curing chamber.  Not too long or you can actually burn the model.

That is pretty much the entire gamut for resin printing- EVERYONE has their own preferences and you will develop your own over time.

You need to be aware, and it is obvious from what I wrote above, that Resin printing is fraught with hundreds of variables that can affect the outcome- THIS has been the most frustrating thing for me.

Resin, settings (many), supports, orientation to the build plate, UV power setting of the printer, resin temperature, etc.

That's my primer.

By the way if you are on Facebook, there are FB groups for nearly every printer model out there, with user experts that can be really helpful.


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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2023, 11:29:52 AM »
Also a lurker in this forum, I appreciate all of the info. I have already collected a bunch of files that I would like to print, but 3d printing still sounds a little too difficult (or maybe a better word is frustrating) for me at this time. Then again, I am still disappointed that DCC hasn't ever become the cheap, easy, simple thing is was supposed to become either.

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually a techie...been in the IT biz for over 30 years, but good software and good hardware should be easy and simple for non-tech people to be able to pick up and is usually something I don't want to have to think about work when I want to do it. Love the tech, just hoping it will become more friendly as time goes on...
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