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I've Just Bought A 3D Printer But I Don't Know How To Use It!?

Updated: Feb 12

Having moved out of our old premises, we sold a few of our machines off - one of which was to a young father and his son for Christmas. The young lad had been learning the basics of FDM modelling at school whilst producing replica Harry Potter wands; however, although his father was by nature technical, he was intimidated by the whole process and wanted some guidance on the road to building his Creality Ender 3 and learning how to programme the correct parameters that would enable him to start modelling some basic forms.

Here is my Santa's 3D printing top tips that I placed inside the box to help his son on Christmas morning:

  • Keep things nice and simple. A machines strength is a human’s weakness in that it is really good at repeating the same task. A machine, however, is only efficient when it has been programmed to operate within very specific parameters.

Recommended filaments: PETG and PLA+

  • PETG prints at 255 degrees and a print speed of 60-70mm/second – cooling fan off

  • PLA+ prints at 220 degrees and a print speed of 60mm/second – fan off

  • Bed temperature PETG: 80 degrees, PLA+ 60 degrees

Do not run a filament with a higher melting temperature after PLA+ before clearing the hot end and increasing the temperature otherwise you will cause a blockage.

  • Download the ‘CURA’ slicing software to export 3d models to GCODE and save them onto your micro-sd card. Plug the card into the machine and select the file using the twisty knob.

  • Tutorials for CURA on YouTube.

Filament suppliers:

  • 3d jakes, Sunlu, Esun, Makers warehouse, amazon, eBay, Filamentive, Spectrum

Model library’s:

  • Ultimaker thingyverse, turbo squid, sketchfab, thangs

Design your own models:

  • Autodesk fusion 360


  • Spare parts on eBay/Amazon

  • Nozzles are 0.4mm brass, heat boxes are creality standard

  • Keep filament dry always or it will bubble as it passes through the extruder

  • Always wait for the print to cool before removing it from the bed

  • Always calibrate the bed according to the layer height you choose in the slicing software

  • Remember that if you’re building a brick house and your bottom 3 courses of bricks are out by 0.3mm then by the time you get up to the wall plate/roof your print will be out by that distance x the number of layers in your print

  • Longer faces always facing the front

  • Calibrate the nozzle from the bed using a sheet of paper

  • Check the belts are tight

  • Check the wheel bearings are not too loose or too tight against the rails

If you are leaving the print on overnight or for a long time, make sure there is enough filament on the reel to print that part

If a print fails, half way through – there is a way to resume it without starting the whole print again which involves deleting lines of code from the gcode file itself and restarting the print at that particular layer again.

Good Luck, TNS.

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