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3D printing for dummies

Getting started with 3D printing

Back in April I ordered my first 3D printer, I had used several before and thought I knew a little bit about how to use one etc

I settled on the Startt 3D printer from iMakr which comes in at a very respectable £99.99 and can print up to sizes of 14 x 12 x 13 cm of PLA (although I have not printed anything that big yet!).

Startt 3D printer

Building the printer was relatively easy and was completed after a few nights hard work. Since buying the printer they have made a couple of modifications - most significantly being the ABS components. If I had bought the printer now some of the early issues I had could have been resolved with the upgrade.

So after building the printer I expected to be able to print straight away - this really wasn't the case. It took another week of trial, error, frustrations, desperate tweets to friends and tears before I managed to get the PLA to even stick to the bed.

You can guess what the issue was? Bed levelling!

After 5 months, 2 kg of blue PLA and many 10 m samples I can now get it to print perfectly each time. This is mostly in part to me now being able to level the bed fairly well each time and using buildtak!

What have I learnt?

  • 3D printing is a dark art and most definitely not a science
  • There are loads of great tutorial website, blogs and YouTube videos - use them!
  • Cheap PLA is a waste of money
  • Level the bed
  • Don't give up, keep trying
  • Slic3r really is nicer
  • Rigid.Ink has great PLA and awesome customer service
  • Level the bed
  • Have fun

I am now looking at getting my second 3D printer later this year (but don't tell my wife!)

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