Why you should build your own 3D Printer?
Like I wrote in my previous article – 3D Printing Tips, 3D printers have found their way onto our desktops and they are here to stay.
There are two types of 3d printers available in the market. The first type are open source printers whose designs, firmware, software etc. are available for everyone to use, modify and contribute. The second type are printers whose designs are not openly available. Some of these printers use open source software and electronics but their designs remain closed.
Most of the open source printers can be easily made by anyone with a little technical know-how, by sourcing individual components or by purchasing ‘DIY Kits’. The question which naturally arises is – why make your own printer and not buy one off the shelf?
Here I try to bring forth some points bringing out the merits of making your own printer vis-à-vis buying an off the shelf model.
1. The designs, firmware and software are available on the open domain and are easily available. These undergo continuous upgrades as more and more members of the DIY community contribute to them.
2. If you make your own printer, you will know exactly what to look for in case something goes wrong. Since almost all desktop 3D printers, whether open source or closed source, available in the market work on similar principle, this factor assumes much significance.
3. It will enable you to learn a lot about open source hardware and software. This knowledge will not only be useful in your journey in the 3D printing world but will also help you as a maker.
4. Huge support is available in the form of a large community of makers. Hundreds of forums, chat channels, blogs and you tube videos make this entire things pretty easy and exciting.
5. You can hack and upgrade the design, rewrite the software and contribute to the community.
6. It is much cheaper to make your own printer than buying one.
7. These printers never become obsolete and they can be easily upgraded. Your experience in building it comes handy in upgrading it!
One of the most popular open source 3D printer is the Prusa, designed by Josef Jo Prusa. The latest version of this printer is the Prusa i3.
Visit our website www.3dprintronics.com for DIY printer kits, reprap components and all other 3d printing requirements. We provide complete Prusa i3 DIY kits. These kits include everything you need to build your own Prusa i3 reprap open source 3D printer.
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www.3DPrintronics.com : 3D Printers | DIY Kits | Reprap components | 3D Printing Filament
Tips for beginners to get amazing prints from their 3D Printers
3D printing technology has come a long way from mega factories and research centres to our very own desktops. Desktop 3d printers are still undergoing the evolutionary phase and are not as easy to use as a normal (2D) printer. While all these printers are capable of amazing you by making awesome things for you, it is important that we know the basics of getting good prints from these printers. Buying/making a new 3D printer and then not being able to get any useful prints from that will hurt the adoption of the technology in general as it will hurt your pocket.
Here we have compiled a few important tips to get good prints from your 3D printer.
Keep in mind
- The printer in your hand is not a magic box in itself. You have to master it to make it work magic for you. Initially, you will need lots and lots of patience, time and perseverance to get the best out of these simple technological marvels.
- Hit and trial methods, accompanied with knowledge and experience will make your day. Do not forget to note down every action you do and its consequent result. These notes will see you in good stead during your journey in the world of 3D printing.
- Start printing with small simple models. We understand that it is difficult to control one’s excitement when you see those simple models being printed well and one wants to print everything!! But relax. The printer is yours and it is not walking away from your desktop. Master it slowly and steadily and you will be printing larger and complex models in no time.
- Internet is your friend. As with every other thing, you can learn a lot about 3D printing from the various resources on internet. Reprap wiki, reprap forums, IRC chat and You Tube are some suggested resources. Read, re-read, implement and analyse. Share your experiences to help others benefit.
Before you start a print check the following things:
• All the electronic and mechanical components are working well. Check the end stops, motors and the fans.
• All the belts should be tight. If the belts are loose, tighten them using the mechanism given in your printer or by using belt clamps. The more you tighten the belts, the better will your prints be.
• The extruder assembly and the nozzle should be free of any debris like filament from previous print etc.
• Bed Leveling: The print bed has to be absolutely level. For most DIY reprap variety printers, it is ideal that you level the bed before every print. To check the level of the bed, just slide a paper sheet between the nozzle and the heated bed. The sheet should slide in easily. Check the level on all four corners of the print bed.
• Extrude some filament before you start the actual print. Check that the extrusion is proper and consistent.
How to get the filament stick to the heated bed and make it stay there:
• The print bed has to be absolutely level. See point regarding this above.
• Clean your print bed properly. Oil and dirt can prevent the filament from sticking well. Use acetone and a soft cloth/lint free towel to clean the print surface.
• If you have a heated bed, switch it on. While it is said that PLA does not need heated bed, it is better you use the heated bed. Keep the temperature at 55-60 Celsius for PLA and about 110 degree for ABS.
• Use a glass surface to print. If you the filament does not stick to the glass also, then use Kapton tape or blue painters tape to print on.
• You can also try some hacks for making your filament stick. Try using a hair spray available in the market .It works really well. Just spray a little on the heated bed from a distance. Avoid the hair spray from falling on the moving parts.
• ABS Juice – Add some scrap ABS to a bottle of acetone and let it dissolve. Now use this ‘juice’ to clean your print surface normally. This should make your prints stick well.
• Room Temperature – The room should be warm. If required, you may use a room heater to maintain room temperature. Though not always feasible, using glass boxes over the printers also works well.
Some other useful tips
• Do not keep your filament open while not printing. Try and cover it with a polythene sheet etc. to prevent it from attracting oil and dirt.
• Filament Feed: Try to keep the filament feed simple. The filament roll should be placed in a manner as to allow the filament to be fed straight. You may use a filament guide to guide the filament straight into the extruder.
• Use a piece of sponge tied with a zip tie to clean the filament as it enters the extruder.
Maintain your printer
• Check all nuts, bolts, washers, belts etc regularly. Tighten them if required.
• Oil the smooth rods, X axis threaded rods regularly. Use very light oil.
• Maintain the extruder really well. Open it up once in a while and clean the drive gear/hobbed bolt. Replace the springs regularly.
• Keep a 0.3 mm drill handy to clean clogged nozzles. You can find them on our store. You can also use a guitar wire to great effect for cleaning clogged nozzles.
The beauty of 3d printers is that you can upgrade/hack your printer using the parts printed by itself. So let you imagination loose. Get onto websites like www.thingiverse.com where you will find hundreds of hacks and upgrades which will help you in making your already awesome machine more awesome.
These are very basic tips which we have compiled from our experience of using both DIY and professionally manufactured printers. They are no way exhaustive. Any additions, corrections are most welcome.
Wish you happy building and happier printing.
www.3dprintronics.com – India’s first one stop shop for all 3D printing requirements.
Indian Government’s New Rule for Import of Electronic and IT Equipment to India
How will it affect 3D Printer Manufacturers?
The Requirements for Compulsory Registration Order (RCRO), 2012 issued by the Department of Electronics and IT of the Government of India, makes it compulsory for 15 IT and electronic product categories to be compliant with the specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Only BIS compliant products will be allowed for sale, manufacture and import in India in the 15 categories mentioned.
The RCRO is applicable to imported as well as locally manufactured products. If imported goods are not BIS-compliant the customs authorities can confiscate the shipments. The order allows the government to randomly select samples of registered electronic goods to ascertain whether these goods conform to the specified standards.
The categories include laptops, tablets, plasma/LCD/LED televisions, optical disc players, set top boxes, microwave ovens, video games, scanners and printers among others. The idea was to certify them for their quality, safety and health implications under Indian conditions.
The government had earlier set April 3, 2013 for vendors to get their products BIS-compliant. However, after requests from manufacturers and industry bodies, the deadline has been extended to January 3, 2013.
How Will it Affect Import of 3D Printers into India ?
While 3D Printers do not explicitly fall under any of the categories listed under the RCRO, the nomenclature ‘Printer’ gives a vague implication that 3D printers have to comply with this new rule. The Indian Customs have already started detaining imported ‘3D printers’ at the ports of entry, citing this new rule. However, since the technology is new and at a very nascent stage in India, it still remains to clarify whether 3D printers come under the category 'printers' for the purpose of RCRO.
BIS certification is a welcome initiative by the Government of India to ensure that all electronic goods are safe to be used by the end user. However, lack of testing infrastructure coupled with the vast inventory of electronic and IT equipment being imported by thousands of vendors in India has made is extremely difficult for importers to timely get a BIS certification.
In view of the above, it is advisable that 3D printer manufacturers, especially those eying the India market, take cognizance of this rule and gear up to face the challenges posted by it.
Link to BIS website: Bureau of Indian Standards
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