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  • Writer's pictureM Aerospace RTC

How to make sure your 3D print and 3D printer lasts

The journey of 3D printing doesn't end once your object is printed. Properly cleaning and maintaining your 3D print and 3D printer ensures longevity and quality in future prints. Here's a comprehensive guide on finishing your 3D print and maintaining your printer.

-Post-Printing: Cleaning Your 3D Print

1. Removing the Print from the Bed:

● Once your print is complete, carefully remove it from the print bed. For PLA (Polylactic Acid Filament), a gentle twist or using a scraper can help release the print without damaging it.

● For resin 3D printers, you'll need to handle the print carefully, often using gloves and tools like spatulas to avoid skin contact with uncured resin.

2. Cleaning the Print:

● PLA Prints: Trim any excess filament or supports using pliers or a hobby knife. Sand the print with fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. For intricate details, a small file set works wonders.

● Resin Prints: Rinse the print in isopropyl alcohol to remove uncured resin. Use a soft brush to clean crevices. Once cleaned, the print usually requires curing under UV light to harden fully.

3. Special Filaments:

● Wood 3D Prints: Sanding is crucial to bring out the texture. Applying a wood finish can enhance the appearance.

● Metallic Filament: Polish the print to achieve a metallic sheen.

● Transparent or Clear 3D Filament: Sanding and polishing with a clear coat can improve transparency.

● PLA Silk and Rainbow Filament: Gentle sanding ensures the print retains its vibrant colors.

-Maintaining Your 3D Printer

1. Cleaning the Print Bed:

● Regularly clean the print bed in order to ensure proper adhesion. For PLA printing, use a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol. For resin printers, remove any resin residue with isopropyl alcohol.

2. Nozzle and Extruder Maintenance:

● Filament residues, like black PLA or 3D filament carbon fiber, can clog the nozzle. Periodically heat the nozzle and clear blockages with a cleaning needle or filament.

● For printer 3D resin, regularly check the vat and replace the FEP film if damaged to maintain print quality.

3. Lubrication and Calibration:

● Keep your printer's moving parts lubricated and regularly check for alignment. This is crucial for both SLA 3D printers and FDM printers to ensure precision in prints.

4. Material-Specific Tips:

● Resin 3D Printers: Always keep the resin in a dark, cool place to prevent curing and clean the build plate after every print.

● PLA Plastic 3D Printer: Store PLA filament in a dry environment to avoid moisture absorption, which can lead to poor print quality.

Conclusion Proper post-processing and maintenance not only extend the life of your prints but also your printer. By following these steps, from cleaning your prints and maintaining your printer, you ensure every print is high quality, and your 3D printer remains in top condition. Whether you're using good PLA filament, clear 3D printer filament, or experimenting with 3D printing food-safe materials, attention to detail in post-processing and maintenance makes all the difference. Happy printing.

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