Are 3D printers hard to use? In this article, we answer the question and much more. Human technology is easily one of the most amazing things about humans.
Human technology evolves fast, and each field gets upgrades that work better than the last generation.
Printing is one of the common fields in our society, and it has advanced over the years. Technological advancements allow us to go from scanning and printing texts to scanning and printing objects in 3D. Let us look at this and see how it works;
Are 3D Printers Hard To Use?
3D printing is quite difficult, especially for newbies. It has many steps, requiring complex software to create a printable file.
It also needs a lot of creativity, math, and CAD skills for full immersion. There are numerous software and hardware that make the process simpler to learn. You will be comfortable after a few months, and you can create original models.
What Is 3D Printing?
Do you want a machine that could create virtually anything you wanted? This idea seems too good to be true, but it is now possible through 3D printers.
While you might not have one at home or in your office, you will see them more in shops, schools and other places.
3D printing technology is growing more popular as people see more applications for it. So what’s a 3D printer?
And how does it help us to create objects we want to? To understand this, we must look at how we normally create things.
One option is subtractive manufacturing. In this process, we take a chunk of product, like metal, and chop off parts of it to create what we need. We, in essence, subtract the material we don’t need to create something we want.
The second way is forming; it involves applying a force to a block of material to change its shape. This happens with easily compressible materials like wet clay or plasticine, moldable materials.
The 3rd way is through casting, where we take a solid, melt it and pour the liquid into a mold. The mold has spaces that form the object we want, and the liquid fills these spaces. Once it solidifies, it forms an object.
The fourth way is additive manufacturing; this is where we have nothing, to begin with. We then add the material to places you want until you have the object. 3D printing is a good example of additive manufacturing.
3D printing is printing an object by adding materials one layer after another. This allows you to create a replica in the original object’s height, width, and length. 3D printing has evolved, and it works with many types of materials.
3D printing is a popular form of manufacturing, and it is rare, making most people think it is complex.
We need to break down its operations and clarify how simple it is. It all starts by drawing what you want to print on your PC.
You have to give specific dimensions on all angles and sides of the objects to get the correct end product.
The computer creates a special file and sends it to your 3D printer. The printer will read the file, get the dimensions and print the object layer by layer.
3D printing allows artists to create new shapes and objects that weren’t possible to make. It also allows for the use of many different materials like metals, food, plastics, and in advanced cases, living cells.
The applications of 3D printing are limitless. Engineers use 3D printing to make lighter jet engine parts, reducing airplane fuel consumption. Doctors use the technology to create more efficient prosthetics for patients.
How To Use The 3D Printer
3D printers might seem complex and scary initially, but you can learn and get better at them with time.
They all follow a similar process, so you can use most once you figure it out. Let us look at how you can use a 3D printer at home or in a shop;
1. Level the heated bed
You must ensure the heated bed is flat, and the nozzle is parallel to the heated bed. This is crucial since the print will not stick on a bed that is not flat, and you might get a crooked final product. Repeat this step if the print doesn’t stick to the heated bed.
Go to the calibration settings on your printer and level each corner independently. Use a piece of paper and adjust the printer until there is a little resistance on the paper. When you level all the corners, save the settings and remove the paper.
2. Load the filament
Go to the control settings and navigate to jog mode. Keep tapping x+ or z+ until the printing module is in the top right corner.
Get the nozzle ready by changing the temperature to the value you need depending on the filament material.
Hang the filament over the holder while waiting for the nozzle to be ready. Make sure you follow your printer’s guide to place the filament correctly. Cut the end of the filament at a 450 angle and straighten it as much as possible.
Insert the filament into the printer, use the tweezers to clean the filament on the nozzle, and then go back.
3. Generate the G-Code
You will need the G-Code before you can do anything with the printers, and to get it, you need to install Snapmaker3D. Use the app to modify the model and get all the dimensions right.
Select the printing mode and other parameters as you need them. Use the default settings if you are a newbie and don’t know the parameters.
4. Use the computer to start printing.
Connect the printer to your PC using a USB cable and connect the devices, then click print. Give the printer a few minutes to heat the heated bed and nozzle before it starts printing. Once ready, the printer will start printing the image layer by layer.
5. Remove the print
The printer has a palette knife for removing the prints from the heated bed. Be careful with the palette knife; you don’t damage the print. Once the bed is level, you can print any model using the USB disk.
6. Use the USB disk
Use the app to save the model, then click export to move the G-code file of the model to your USB disk. Insert the USB disk in the controller but ensure it is disconnected. On the printer, go to files and select the G-code file of the model you want, then tap start.
This will start the printing process, and it might take a while depending on the print’s filament, density, and size.
Safety Tips When Using A 3D Printer
Safety is crucial when using any electrical equipment or chemicals. A 3D printer is expensive, and it uses some dangerous chemicals.
Therefore, you must know how to use and maintain it safely. Here are some safety tips you could follow to protect yourself and the printer;
Always treat the nozzles as though they are hot and dangerous
The nozzle heats the filament to melt it onto the heated plate and form the 3D print. The nozzle will take a few minutes to cool down, and it might burn if you touch it. As such, always avoid or wear protective gear near it.
Don’t reach inside the printer while it is working
The printer uses electricity and heat to operate. These two can cause serious damage to humans, so it is unsafe to open the printer while it is working. Disconnect it from the power and give it time to cool down before opening it.
Always allow the printer to cool after use.
Most 3D printer components will be hot after printing, so you must be careful. Check the temperature until it drops to below 350C on the print surface before you remove the print. This will be warm enough to release the print but not too hot that it would burn you.
Always point the removing tool away from you.
The removing tool is thin and sharp, allowing it to scrape off the print from the print surface. This means it can be dangerous, and you could stab yourself or someone else with it.
Don’t tamper with the printer without expertise.
Tampering with the printer may cause a fire that will damage the printer and escalate. As such, don’t try to open and repair the printer if you are not an expert.
So if you were wondering, are 3D printers hard to use? You have your answer now. 3D printing can be challenging to learn, especially for newbies. It has more steps than regular printing, and each step is more complex, but with practice, it becomes easier.
3D printers use revolutionary technology and will make a huge difference in our future. They have limitless applications in medicine, engineering, and the food industry. As the technology becomes more refined, it will offer solutions to more problems.