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Printing Tips

  • Vapor Smoothing and Polishing PLA with Tetrahydrofuran (THF)

    Acetone has been used for some time to treat ABS parts, either by polishing, vapor smoothing, or even using it to stick parts together.  Likewise Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) has been used to the same effect with ABS.  We found Tetrahydrofuran (THF) to be the best option in our assessment, but be warned that there are serious safety concerns to working with THF.

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  • Testing Aqua Net Hair Spray for 3D Printer Bed Adhesion

    This is just a quick post to share our experience with Aqua Net hair spray as a print-bed adhesion enhancer for 3D Printing.  We certainly didn't come up with the idea of using hairspray on a 3D Printer, but have been giving it a go and wanted to share.

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  • 3D Printer Filament Buyer's Guide

    This is intended to be a very basic Personal 3D Printer filament buyer’s guide for new 3D Printer users.  Every single point presented here is worth a lengthy post, but this should serve as a top-level summary that might help you determine what plastic filaments will best suit your needs.

    Additionally, see What Plastic Filament does my 3D Printer Use.

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  • Thing-O-Matic MK7 PLA Set-Up and Troubleshooting (Likely MK8)

    While a vast improvement over previous extruders, the MK7 can still prove challenging for those wanting to get started with PLA. However, while PLA is more picky in the settings surrounding how it is printed, its benefits over other printing materials make getting over the calibration hurdle well worth it. It has little to no smell when extruded, can be used without a heated bed, undergoes less warping and cracking and can produce highly detailed features and surfaces when used in conjunction with a cooling fan. So read on and with any luck you'll be happily printing with it too. While following applies directly to those using an MK7 on a Thing-O-Matic using skeinforge 35, those using other machines and configurations should find some of this information useful. It is also likely that the following instructions will apply to those who own a Replicator as the MK8 appears to be very similar to the MK7. Be sure to have a look at the 'Tips & Troubleshooting' at the end. Continue reading

  • Printing with Support - Extreme Overhangs

    Printing with support is required when plastic must be deposited on a layer where there is no or insufficient plastic on the previous layer. This includes steep overhanging surfaces, straight overhangs, and fully suspended islands. Learning to print objects on a 3D Printer that require support structures will dramatically expand the potential of your printer and give you the confidence to undertake printing tasks that perhaps you had previously avoided. It would seem though that nature doesn't like to follow design guidelines like the "45 Rule," the idea that overhanging surfaces should not exceed 45 degrees thus avoiding the need to use support (a guideline Makerbot seems to live by); and many of the most compelling objects to print require the use of support.

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  • Printing Polycarbonate

    Well, it's finally time to share what we've learned about printing with Polycarbonate. As we recently announced, pre-orders for Polycarbonate in both 3mm and 1.75mm diameters are available. It took us awhile to get the details sorted out, but we're all set for a ship date of January 30, 2012. There's a whole world of materials out there for that hungry printer on your desk, and we plan to dish up a feast.

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  • ABS Glue: Weld, Cast, Texture and More!

    Looking for an easy way to permanently fuse printed parts? Want to smooth, texture or paint printed walls? Need a way to cast ABS at room temperature? All this and more awaits you with this handy concoction.

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  • Printing PLA on Thing-O-Matic MK7


    For more in-depth, up-to-date content, please see this post: Thing-O-Matic MK7 PLA Set-Up and Troubleshooting (Likely MK8).

    Printing PLA on a makerbot is a question that OFTEN comes up among Cupcake and Thing-O-Matic owners. I mean, it sounds like a great material, nice smell, natural glossy finish and the potential for VERY fast printing. When I started printing with Makerbots new MK7 I gave PLA a try to see if makerbot had managed to work some kinks out of their extruders. I'm happy to say that yes, you too can be printing with PLA in no time.

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