The 3D printing process requires a lot of trial and error. It can be a frustrating and challenging process that many people struggle with. Printing professionals need knowledge of many scientific principles to master the art of 3D printing. Here are some tips and tricks to help you improve your 3D print quality.
You need to understand dimension accuracy
Unfortunately, 3D printing is not as simple as using a machine to print a computer screen into a three-dimension object. You need knowledge, expertise and finesse to produce a high-quality 3D printed item. Dimensional accuracy can be one of the most difficult parts of the printing process for functional objects. For example, when printing a small component of an industrial machine, the measurements must be exact. Just one millimetre off can make the component incompatible with the machine, and you will have to start again. Fortunately, dimensional accuracy isn’t that important for objects used for display purposes.
What impacts dimensional accuracy?
Various factors can impact the dimensional accuracy of your product, such as weight, machine accuracy, post-processing and warping.
Filament exits the nozzle of the 3D printer in a molten shape and starts cooling when it hits the environment. When the material cools, it begins to contract and runs the risk of warping. However, the adhesion to the previous layer and hardening of the material can counteract the thermal stress. Professional printers must stop the thermal stress from overwhelming the forces that counteract it. If the balance fails, the material will warp, and the product will be unsuitable.
Weight can also impact dimensional accuracy. Molten relies on the strength of the previous layer to support its own weight as it cools and strengthens. Even the slightest dimensional inaccuracy can offset this support system and cause the material to collapse under its own weight.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve better dimensional accuracy.
Check printer’s accuracy
You need to make sure your 3D printer is accurate and equipped to cope with your designs. Run a few test prints with calibration cubes to assess the current accuracy of your printer. You can identify any dimensional inaccuracies and begin tweaking the firmware.
You need to check the printer’s tension belts to see if they are too loose or tight. Every printer has a different belt tensioning process. You need to tighten the belts so that the gears cannot slip and produce a guitar-like sound.
Check linear movement components
Make sure the linear rods, screws and rails are straight and replace any bent ones. Try slightly oiling the rods and screws to make the machine work smoothly.
Adjust steps per unit
Finally, if there are still dimensional inaccuracies in the machine – you to check that the motor is controlled with the correct steps.
It takes time and practice to master three-dimensional printing.