You just got your 3D printer, and you already plugged it in.
Assembly: done 👍️
Filament: ready ✔️
STL file: affirmative ✳️
You put your SD card in and hit “Print” 🖨️
Don’t do this!
First, follow the printer instructions carefully.
Adjust all nuts and bolts and tighten them firmly.
Verify if there is any loose screw.
The extruder part should be firmly in place, as all axis and the plate.
Set the right temperature of the bed and extruder!
E.g. with PLA I use 70-80C and extruder temperature of 200-220C
Now: Level your bed and prepare your model.
Level your bed
Leveling your bed is extremely important.
Done wrong or neglected can result in loose filament or damage your bed!
You can get away with it in under 5 minutes.
Just use the autoleveling feature (if your printer supports it).
Alternatively, do a brief manual leveling of the plate with a piece of paper.
Check all edges and the center multiple times, until the paper under the nozzle is firmly gripped in place.
Preparation is key
If you don’t prepare your model correctly, you’ll get 💩️ results.
Garbage in, garbage out 🤦♂️️
In your slicer software, make sure you have your printer profile loaded.
If your model needs support material, make sure to check all the boxes and preview the print.
Also check the quality of the print!
For mechanical part you want precise prints, so a 0.10-0.16 layer height should suffice.
For other prints, you can go a bit higher if the quality is not that important and you want to experiment with your printer.
Adhesion is super important
The last thing you want is that your half finished print detaches from the plate.
This results in a huge waste of time, filament and your patience
For PLA I use 70-80C, and it works like a charm.
Only with the right temperature the material will stick to the plate while printing!
If your material keeps popping off mid print, increase the temperature a bit.
Print the calibration cube first
A perfect example for checking the correct calibration of the printer is the XYZ calibration cube
Get it from thingiverse.
Set the resolution to 0.1mm and infill to 30%.
It should be ready in 20-30 minutes.
And you’ll have a nice little cube at the end.
Inspect the edges, layers and if the letters are precise enough.
Let your parts cool down
I know you’re eager to try out the freshly printed object.
But the plastic needs to chill, bro.
Seriously, plastic easily deformes when stressed.
So let it rest until the bed is at room temperature, and then some more minutes.
This will cause you much frustration if you are too fast to take it off the plate!
NOW go and print!
I hope this was helpful for some people starting out!
Let me know if you have other suggestions and ideas.