Adventures in 3d Printing

So my latest adventure in technology has been to setup my Ender3 3-d printer. I got this thing around Christmas time, mainly as a toy for myself to play around with, and to do more with the raspberry pi’s that I have. Also as a STEM tool for teaching my kids.

But mostly to make cool stuff for me. I’ll be honest, I’m a tabletop gamer, so the idea of custom mini’s is pretty awesome.

So I won’t do a full “step-by-step” on how I assembled this thing, there are a lot of great videos out there on doing that, here’s the one I used.

But I wanted to talk through the process of my prints. The overall process of getting the printer setup wasn’t bad, but its the little things that will mess up your first couple builds and those are the ones I wanted to call out.

  • Leveling the Bed: So I got to tell you, I’m new to 3d printing, and I hate this expression, mainly because it created the wrong image in my mind. When I heard this, I got out a small level and made sure the bed was completely flat. But that led to some really terrible prints. What this really means is making sure that the distance between the nozzle and the bed is uniform throughout. Best way to do this, take a business card and run it in between, and if you feel the nozzle dragging on the card you’ve got it.
  • Feeding the Filament: When I first did a print, I almost ruined my printer, and its because I didn’t feed the filament the whole way through the line. You have to push it the whole way to the nozzle.
  • What to do when it doesn’t stick: I had real problems, even after it was leveled with the print sticking. What would happen is I would get 75% through and then the bed would let go of the model and my print would be ruined. I used hairspray thanks to a community I joined’s recommendation. And it worked like a charm.
  • Supports: I tried a few builds without supports, and that tended to be a mistake, so I had to put them back in. But when I did I changed the percentage supports to 10% and that made them so much easier to break off and stopped me ruining prints after the fact.

Overall though I’ve had some good luck with it, and had a lot of fun. I got an Ender3, and I have to say that overall its been pretty easy to pickup and get going with.