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This isn't going to be a long post - just a quick reminder that cooling is often a critical part of controlling warp and other problems when 3D printing PLA or many other materials.
Even a well calibrated printer/slicing profile can give you problems with curl, especially on outward sloping convex surfaces (like the underside of the bow on a Benchy print). Material selection, ambient (room) temperature, print speed, layer height, nozzle temp, and other print settings are all contributing factors, and will hopefully be a subject of a future post.
These two prints were done with the same material, on the same printer, with the same gcode file, at similar room temperature. The only difference between the prints was whether or not there was active cooling on the print.
It's a pretty stark difference. The nasty finish on the underside of the bow are caused by the material curling upwards on each layer and interfering with the subsequent layers, displacing the material and pushing it outwards erratically, causing bumps, pits, and general roughness.
Now here's the kicker - the cooling method... This was printed on a Monoprice Dual which doesn't have any form of active cooling. For lack of time to put something better together, here's the fan configuration we slapped together.
This is a cheap little desk fan that came from Walmart a while back, taped to the top of the printer with gaffer's tape (the best tape). It's clumsy, chincy, crude, and ugly, but it does the job 80% of the time.
While you're almost certain to get better results from something directed more closely at the print, particularly the end of the nozzle and that vicinity, sometimes the hack will do, especially in a pinch if you REALLY need a print to work without working on your printer.
Some time ago we were helping out the Biology Department at Walla Walla University get a printer dialed in for some work they wanted to do. In our work with them, they gave us these images they took with the help of Whitman College, using their scanning electron microscope and gave us permission to publish. It's been a [...]
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 [...]
We've received questions about how 3D Printed parts handle weather and exposure. It's been just over a year since my post about the 3D Printed Garden Tools. The slug trap in that post received the most attention, and was also the most structurally interesting. When spring was over and the great slug war abated, I [...]
Don't forget to check out our 3D Printer Filament! It's made with love and care by us especially for you right here in the USA! See our Everyday Printing Materials, including Advanced Ingeo PLA and 5 Dollar Filament - our initiative to make it affordable to stock up on a variety of colors and materials. You've [...]
Note: This guide is now sorely out of date, with many more printers in the market and lots of changes to the brands listed here since this post went up. Hopefully it will still be a useful resource for some. Use this guide to find which diameter and types of Plastic Filament are compatible with your [...]
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 [...]
The gardening season is here and it's time to get out and work the dirt. Even very traditional home tasks and pastimes like gardening can benefit from a 3D Printer.I've got a few garden accessories that I've designed for myself to use in the garden this season.Hanging Garden Trellis NettingFirst, I needed a way to hang [...]
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 [...]
THIS IS NOW A LEGACY POST: 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 [...]