Einscan-SE is one of the top picks of 2019 for portable and reliable high end 3D Scanners and still remains a marvelous machine with decent price tag. If you need a dedicated 3D scanner that serves the job of getting reliable 3D scans of small to medium sized objects then Einscan-SE could be right for you. Let’s have a more detailed look at the features and scan quality.
Einscan-SE uses the foundational 3D scanning technology called structured-light detection and has a scan volume of 200x200x200 mm with the auto-scan feature. Dimensional accuracy of 0.1 mm to the actual object. The scanner is also capable of detecting textures and colours decently well. However general limitation is that objects that are high glossy, transparent or black are prone to scan data dispersion. For larger objects up to 700 mm³ the fixed scan feature can be used can later be easily aligned and soothed over with the EinScan software. Depending on the size of the object, you might find it more comfortable and easy to work if the scan head is mounted on a tripod stand. This also ensures the scan is sturdier.
The EinScan-SE package comes with the scanner, a turntable for 360° scans, a calibration board, and a stand to connect the scanner head and turntable. The turntable is easily linked to the scanner head, which plugs directly into a power socket. You can then connect the scanner head with the supplied USB cable to your PC. You will need to calibrate the scanner to optimize the scanner’s performance. The calibration process doesn’t take more than a few minutes but could vary depending on the PC being used.
The turn steps can be adjusted from 8 to 180 steps. The turntable rotates in steps to complete a whole 360 degrees of the object. Higher steps make sure all the details of the object are captured while also increasing the scan time. But for simpler objects, using lower steps makes the scan faster. For better results, 2 different scans with varied light settings can be taken and merged in the software. The scanner also supports HDR mode where the object is illuminated for a bit longer and finer beams of light is used for better scan quality, but it takes a bit longer time to scan in HDR mode. Ideally for best possible scan results the environment should be dark avoiding a bright light directly falling on the object and the scan head. Scanning in bright light conditions is very difficult (the scan leads to quality dropping below recognition) hence wrapping a large cardboard behind the object and the scan head is advised to block outside light and if the room had light entering from the window, light can be blocked by shutting the blinds.
The EinScan software has to be purchased separately and has an easy to use interface. Mesh generation time is highly dependent on the processor power and we recommend using high end processor PC that have a clock speed of at least 3 GHz and a RAM of 12 GB. Typically a mesh of around 2 million triangles could take a time of 15 minutes got generation. A point to note is that there is no save option and the scanned mesh will be auto-saved into the project name folder given when the software is loaded. Mesh data can be exported into STL, PLY and OBJ formats thus enabling to 3D print the scanned object if needed.
All in all, EinScan-SE is a great professional 3D Scanner that comes at an affordable price point. At THINKFAB, we offer EinScan-SE 3D Scanner at a high competitive price. Click here to request for quote.
The Raise3D Pro2 Plus is one of the few professional large-format 3D printers. It offers a spacious 305 × 305 × 605 mm build volume, which puts it in competition. The Raise3D Pro2 Plus is pitched at labs, entrepreneurs, manufacturing and prototyping companies. It’s not a typical maker’s machine to tinker with as it’s meant to deliver results. Let’s dive in for what this printer has to offer the best.
Gigantic Build Volume
The printer has a vast build volume of 305 × 305 × 605 mm making it one of the largest printers by build volume in z direction. Also the printer weighs a whopping 52 kg and handily, the inbuilt caster wheels let one move it around. Due to the weight it is not suitable as a table-top or desktop printer.
Fully enclosed design makes sure a more uniform temperature is maintained in the build chamber so that printing materials like ABS and HIPS has no problems. The enclosure also makes the Pro2 Plus safer for beginners to work with.
The print bed is now aluminum with a proprietary BulidTalk surface sticker for better adhesion. And the table is now fixed with magnets and screws. Therefore, there is no more clothespins for the extruder to snag on.
Dual Print Head
Dual Extrusion printing is one of the most important features of this machine. It’s not only about dual-colored prints (which can be nice, of course), but more about the use of soluble or break-away materials. The print head is sturdy and big, capable of positioning the print-head to reach a resolution of astonishing 5 microns or 0.005mm in the Z-axis. The most important upgrade in the Raise Pro2 3D printer is the extruder. In earlier model N2 printer, even if the nozzles were positioned correctly in height relative to each other, there was still a danger that the inactive nozzle could “knock down” the model. But with the Pro 2, this problem has been eliminated. The printer has a system of rising nozzles. When printing, the inactive nozzle rises up a few millimeters just enough to prevent it from interfering with the active nozzle.
7inch Touch Screen
Touch screen control is a nice feature to have and Raise3D Pro Plus has a large 7 inch screen for easier interaction and better experience.
All in all, Raise3D Pro2 Plus is a great professional FDM 3D Printer that comes at an affordable price point. At THINKFAB, we offerRaise3D Pro2 Plus 3D Printer at a high competitive price. Click here to request for quote.
Raise 3D Pro-3 Plus is a revised and upgraded version of the previous version Pro 2 Plus. According to the company, the Pro 3 is claimed to be a more intelligent state of the art printer than its predecessor. While the Pro 3 Plus is a really great printer on its own with dual extrusion capability and a large build volume of 300x300x605 mm like the Pro 2 Plus, let’s see some additional features of the Pro 3 plus.
Pro 3 series printers are capable of printing a much wider range of materials that can melt within 300 degrees Celsius, including PLA, ABS, HIPS, PC, TPU, TPE, PETG, ASA, PP, NYLON, PVA, Glass Fiber Infused, Carbon Fiber Infused, Metal Fill and Wood Fill, among others.
Interchangeable Hot Ends
Independent modular extruders mean that you can install a variety of nozzles. Abrasion resistant nozzles can be used when printing harder composite fiber filaments like Glass Fiber and Carbon Fiber. And nozzles of different diameters can be used as per the print speed and resolution requirement enabling you to fully leverage the larger build volume to print large models in less time. The click and lock mechanism makes these hot ends easy to change without any tools.
Auto Bed Leveling
Though the printer is already equipped with factory calibration, the added Auto Bed Leveling feature makes sure that the printer always delivers reliable prints in a production setup. This also eliminates calibration times by a significant amount.
Air Flow Manager
It is vital for the temperature inside the chamber to be stable to ensure that the part does not warp due to varying environments. This is possible when the heat retention and heat dissipation are managed well. The Air Flow Manager with HEPA air filter is exactly added for this purpose ensuring better heat dissipation and also cleaning the air.
Flexible build plate makes the part removal effortless and does not damage the part.
In case any power outage occurs, the recovery system saves the print status so that printing can be continued from the stopped location.
HD cameras enhance the video quality for better monitoring.
Nozzle clogging is one major issue with FDM 3D Printers. When nozzle gets clogged, material won’t get extruded. There are multiple reasons for nozzle clogging. Nozzle clogging can be completely avoided if some preventive maintenance measures are taken. Below are certain reasons for clogging of the nozzle
(a) Inserting a new filament that has lower temperature requirement without cleaning out the nozzle completely
(b) Dusty filaments
(c) Filament stripping in the extruder gear and the filament left in the nozzle
How to unclog the nozzle: There are multiple ways to unclog the nozzle. Below is the detailed explanation of these various ways to unclog the nozzle
(a) Brass wire brush – Use a brass wire brush to clean off any debris / remains from the nozzle. This will prime up the nozzle by removing unwanted particles. Use only brass wire brush and don’t use steel wire brush as steel wire brush can cause damage to the nozzle.
(b) Acetone bath – Thermoplastics dissolve well in Acetone. So cleaning the nozzle with acetone bath helps remove unwanted particles and unclogs the nozzle. For the acetone bath, first heat up the nozzle to the print temperature of the last material used and then use a wrench to detach the nozzle from heater block. Once detached, keep the nozzle in acetone liquid overnight. This works very well for ABS. If there are other types of filaments, then use heat gun to melt out the remaining filament.
(c) Acupuncture Needle – One other approach to clean nozzle is to use acupuncture needle. Preheat the nozzle to the print temperature of the last nozzle you are printing with and gently insert the acupuncture needle up through the nozzle, push and pull the needle through nozzle for few times to clean the nozzle.
(d) Cleaning Filament – Heat the nozzle up-to 250 degrees centigrade and push the cleaning filament through nozzle until you don’t see any of the old filament coming from the nozzle, then pull out the filament from nozzle and heat it once again to remove the remaining filament from the nozzle and clean the nozzle.
Filaments are a vital part of additive manufacturing. It is the main source in FDM printing. As there is rapid growth in industry, the filaments are available in a variety of sizes, brands, materials. The process consists of five steps. Now let us know in detail how the filament is made.
Step 1: Plastic – The first step in manufacturing filament is the preparation of plastic. Crude oil is heated in an industrial furnace during refinement. Main component is naphtha, which is chemically bonded in the reactor. Finally the products are melted and mixed with other products to form plastic. Then the resulting product is known as pellets or resin. Usually plastic suppliers manufacture plastic in white color so that customers may get their desired color when required. Pellets are very inexpensive compared to filaments.
Step 2: Preparation – The second step in the process is preparing the pellets and shaping them. Next they are solidified in order to form string-like structure. Now the pellets are put into an industrial blender and additives are added to it. These additives can be used to add colorants or to determine the properties such as resistance, strength etc.
Drying -Once the pellets are mixed properly they are moved to the drying section. Generally pellets absorb moisture from the air so they are called as hygroscopic. They are dried around 60°C to 80°C for a few hours.
Step 3: Shaping -The third step in this process is shaping the pellets into a string-like form. This involves both heating and cooling.
a)Heating – First the pellets are fed into a filament extruder which has a heating chamber. Here the pellets are melted into a sticky material so that the desired shape can be obtained. Now the string like material leaves the chamber and then moved into the cooling section with the help of nozzle.
b) Cooling -After leaving the chamber the filament should enter into two chambers. The first is full of warm water which is used to attain rounded filament. The second is full of warm water through which the filament cools and forms a new shape.
Step 4: Spooling -Now it is moved into the spooling section. This is done in order to check whether the filament’s diameter is as per the target diameter. Generally diameter may be 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm. Finally filament is wounded around a spool. After sensing the spool is full, the filament is detached. The same process is repeated.
Step 5:Packaging -The last step is selling the product. Company specific brand packaging is done. Packaging consists of labelling and barcodes for business purpose.
3D Printer nozzle is one of the most important components of FDM 3D Printers. This is the last piece of item that the material touches before it gets extruded onto the build plate. Previously there was only one type of nozzle – Brass Nozzle (0.4mm diameter). Due to excellent thermal conductivity properties of brass and low melting point temperature & non-abrasive nature of ABS, PLA material, this nozzle was more than sufficient for FDM 3D Printing needs. But over time the application needs of FDM 3D Printing technology grew manifold and so are the needs to come up with different nozzle that can withstand higher temperatures and abrasive materials. In this article we shall look at various such nozzles in detail. Nozzle can be generally classified as per below
(1) Filament Diameter – 1.75mm (or) 2.85mm. There are only 2 standard filament diameters available.
(2) Nozzle Material – Various new types of nozzles are being launched regularly. We have brass nozzle, stainless steel nozzle, hardened steel nozzle, titanium nozzle and many more new types of nozzles are being launched regularly. Here is a quick overview of different nozzle materials
(a)Brass – Brass is the most common metal used for nozzles. Brass can be used to print PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, TPE, TPU, PC and most any other non-abrasive materials. Brass has excellent thermal conductive properties and are good for printing standard thermoplastics like ABS, PLA but brass isn’t good for abrasive filaments.
(b) Stainless Steel – A step above brass, nozzles made from stainless steel are good if you want to print a wide range of types of filament, including abrasives. Also stainless steel nozzles are recommended for medical applications.
(c) Hardened steel – If you want to print purely abrasive materials, hardened steel nozzles are what you want.
(d) Specialty materials – Other materials, like Tungsten and Ruby, have been used to make harder nozzles that can stand up to constant abrasion. These are for printing exclusively abrasive materials, and typically cost more than the other options.
(3) Nozzle Diameter – Previously there was only one standard diameter – 0.4 mm. But over time various new diameter nozzles are entering the market – 0.25mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm
(4) Nozzle Length – We have both longer nozzles and shorter nozzles. Longer nozzles are easy to clean due to proper airflow whereas shorter nozzles reduce heat loss, help in better transmission of heat & also reduce the positioning error. Also, the material consumed will be less to manufacture shorter nozzles. Now a days, many 3D Printer manufacturers are opting for shorter nozzles for their machines.
(5) Nozzle Outside Shape – In general, we have two types of nozzle shapes in the market – (a) Pointed Nozzles (b) Flat Head Nozzles. The latest Ultimaker 3D Printer comes with pointed nozzle. The major advantage of pointed nozzle is reduction of unwanted heat transfer to already deposited material. One important criteria for quality 3D Prints is to ensure the material cools down rapidly once deposited. But with flat-head nozzle, we again heat the material unwanted during the deposition of new layer. It becomes very clear when you try to print pyramids / cones / objects with pointed ends.
But the pointed nozzles require greater positioning accuracy and any wrong positioning may scratch the glass plate or deposited material easily. So, for more sturdiness we should opt for flat head nozzle and for better quality we should opt for pointed nozzle.
(6) Nozzle Inside Shape – There is no major limitation on the nozzle inside shape except for not letting thin conduits.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is an additive manufacturing process that belongs to the material extrusion family. In FDM, an object is built by selectively depositing melted material in a pre-determined path layer-by-layer. The materials used are thermoplastic polymers and come in a filament form. Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) was invented by Steven Scott Crump in 1988 who also Co-founded Stratasys.
I. A spool of thermoplastic filament is first loaded into the printer. Once the nozzle has reached the desired temperature, the filament is fed to the extrusion head and in the nozzle where it melts.
II. The extrusion head is attached to a 3-axis system that allows it to move in the X, Y and Z directions. The melted material is extruded in thin strands and is deposited layer-by-layer in predetermined locations, where it cools and solidifies. Sometimes the cooling of the material is accelerated through the use of cooling fans attached on the extrusion head.
III. To fill an area, multiple passes are required (similar to coloring a rectangle with a marker). When a layer is finished, the build platform moves down (or in other machine setups, the extrusion head moves up) and a new layer is deposited. This process is repeated until the part is complete.
Support structure is essential for creating geometries with overhangs in FDM because melted thermoplastic cannot be deposited on thin air. Surfaces printed on support will generally be of lower surface quality than the rest of the part. For this reason, it is recommended that the part is designed in such a way to minimize the need for support.
Support is usually printed in the same material as the part. Support materials that dissolve in liquid also exist, but they are used mainly in high-end desktop or industrial FDM 3D printers. Printing on dissolvable supports improves significantly the surface quality of the part, but increases the overall cost of a print.
FDM parts are usually not printed solid to reduce the print time and save material. Instead, the outer perimeter is traced using several passes, called the shell, and the interior is filled with an internal, low-density structure, called the infill. Infill and shell thickness affect greatly the strength of a part. For desktop FDM printers, the default setting is 25% infill density and 1 mm shell thickness, which is a good compromise between strength and speed for quick prints.
Design and Slicing
Just like any other form of 3D Printing, the CAD Model is developed using any 3D Design softwares like Solidworks, CATIA, NX, Fusion 360 etc. and the model is exported in STL file format. The STL file is then sliced to generate the GCode using the Slicing Softwares. Either the proprietary slicing software that comes with the printer manufacturer or the open sourced slicing softwares like Ultimaker Cura can be used. Cura has gained a lot of popularity in the community due to more features being added in every release and which is also free to use.
The sliced file contains the instructions for X, Y and Z movement of the printer head and the printer bed (Y), printing speed, temperature control.
Parameters: Although there are several parameters that need to be set and fine-tuned for best results we will discuss the most important ones below.
a) Print Temperature: This is the vital parameter that controls the melting and deposition of the plastic filament accurately. This depends on the material of the filament being used. Improper print temperature can lead to defects like under extrusion or stringing of the nozzle. Every material has an optimal print temperature range for best strength and dimensional accuracy. For example, PLA prints best at 210 degrees. Beyond 220 degrees causes nozzle oozing and stringing and printing below 200 degrees C will not cause the layers to stick properly and part loses its strength. This trend is observed for other materials also.
b) Layer Height or Layer Resolution: This is the height of each layer used to build the 3D object. FDM printers are capable of printing layer heights of 0.1mm to 0.3 mm. A smaller layer height increases the layers required to build the object hence would consume a lot of time. A higher layer height can reduce print time but layer adhesion gets compromised hence the part strength also gets reduced.
c) Shells/Perimeters: These are the number of outer walls for the object. 2 to 8 perimeters can be used to strengthen the structure
d) Infill Percentage: Infill is the material that is added inside the body of the object being created. It is not always economical to fill the entire object with the plastic if the object only needs outer appearance and hence infill of 10 to 30% can be used. But this leaves gaps in the internal structure of the object and reduces strength. If strength is required 100% infill is recommended.
e) Infill Pattern: Grid or Hexagonal or Triangular patterns can be used for the infill.
Minimum Wall thickness: 1.2 mm
Minimum details size: 2 mm (for text/ hole diameters etc)
Layer thickness: 0.1 mm – 0.3 mm
Max dimensions: 650 x 600 x 600 mm. Large parts can be created with assembling individual parts by interlocking designs or gluing together.
Standard Accuracy: ± 0.3% (with lower limit on ± 0.3 mm).
Surface finish: visible layers with texture.
Strength has to be looked from 4 aspects
1) Material aspect: Below are the tensile strength values of commonly used filament materials. HDT (Heat Deflection temperature is the temperature at which the material tends to lose its strength and rigidity. Shear strength can be considered as 50% of the tensile strength and flexural strength can be considered as 90% of the tensile strength.
Tensile Strength in MPa in XY direction
Heat Deflection Temperature (degrees centigrade)
1) Printing Temperature aspect. Improper printing temperature can bring down the specified strength by 50 %.
2) Hence this should be taken care while printing. Geometry and Orientation aspect: Z orientation always gives about half the tensile strength of the same part printed in XY direction irrespective of the layer height used.
3) Layer Height aspect: 0.1 to 0.2 mm layer height gives the maximum strength and increasing the layer height further reduces the strength by 30%.
If all 4 parameters are considered and taken care of properly, we can achieve the strength as stated in the table in point 1.
Each material suits a specific application. Applications include Visual Prototypes, Fit validations, Low-Volume Parts, Scale Models of Buildings and Automobiles, Functional Prototypes, Fixtures and holding tools, Sand-casting patterns with less details etc.
High strength and rigid parts. But generally toxic from environment perspective
General Purpose applications such as visual prototyping and design testing. PLA is Biodegradable making it eco-friendly. But material is brittle to failure. Can decompose or loose strength under sunlight. Should be kept away from moisture and water.
Substitute for PLA where the part is subjected to moisture and water.
Substitute for PLA where a little bit of flexibility is needed such as snap fits
Substitute for PLA where the part is subjected to more than 50 degrees centigrade temperature and less than 100 degrees centigrade. Toxic if ABS fumes are inhaled hence need to be handled with care, hazardous in contact with fire.
Rubber like material that can be used for making soft toys.
FDM iscost effective and a wide range of printable thermoplastic materials are available. Large prints can be done up to 750 mm x 750 mm x 750 mm
Limitations Of Fused Deposition Modeling
Dimensional accuracy is not so good (+/- 0.3 mm tolerance). Surface Finish is not so good in FDM and would generally require post processing like sanding, filing and acetone smoothing. Even after post-processing the surfaces typically have roughness value (Ra) of 25 to 125 micrometers.
Hope you find this article interesting and gave you a know-how on why to choose FDM technology. At THINKFAB, we offer wide range of FDM 3D Printer at a high competitive price. Click here to request for quote.
Stereolithography or Stereolithography Apparatus (commonly referred as SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that belongs to the Vat Photopolymerization family. In SLA, an object is created by selectively curing a polymer resin layer-by-layer using an ultraviolet (UV) laser beam. The materials used in SLA are photosensitive thermoset polymers that come in a liquid form. Stereolithography was developed in 1986 by Chuck Hull when he patented the process and also cofounded 3D Systems, world’s first 3D printing company.
SLA has many common characteristics with Direct Light Processing (DLP), another Vat Photopolymerization 3D printing technology. For simplicity, the two technologies can be treated as equal.
A laser beam is directed in the X-Y axes across the surface of the resin according to the 3D data supplied to the machine (the .stl file), whereby the resin hardens precisely where the laser hits the surface. Once the layer is completed, the platform within the vat drops down by a fraction (in the Z axis) and the subsequent layer is traced out by the laser. The resin that is not touched by the laser remains in the vat and can be reused. This continues until the entire object is completed and the platform can be raised out of the vat for removal.
Support structure is always required in SLA. Support structures are printed in the same material as the part and must be manually removed after printing. The orientation of the part determines the location and amount of support. It is recommended that the part is oriented so that so visually critical surfaces do not come in contact with the support structures
Design and Slicing Process
The CAD Model is developed using any 3D Design softwares like Solidworks, CATIA, NX, Fusion 360 etc. and the model is exported in STL file format. The Slicers that are dedicated for SLA printing convert the STL file into individual layer patterns that instruct the laser light reflector to direct the UV light to fill the outline area of each sliced layer. It is recommended to use the Slicer software that comes with the printer manufacturer.
Minimum Wall Thickness: 1.2mm required
Fine Details: Text should at least be 2 mm in size and 0.5 mm in depth. Holes should at least be 2 mm in diameter
Layer Resolution: 0.05 mm to 0.3 mm
Accuracy: ± 0.15% (with lower limit on ± 0.1 mm). XY accuracy of 25 to 50 microns is possible.
Maximum Dimensions: 300 mm x 200 mm x 300 mm
SLA printed parts are required to be washed in Iso Propyl Alcohol to remove any excess resin stains on the model and then the part is gently rinsed in water.
The part is then placed in a UV lamp for 20 minutes to further strengthen the part. Part tensile strength increases by 30% after post curing under UV lamp. Dedicated UV lamp enclosures are available that rotate the part 360 degrees to cure the part in all directions.
There are a wide range of UV curable resins available and can be classified into 4 categories (General Purpose, Engineering, Dental and Jewelry). Material properties of some resins are given below.
General Purpose: Clear and Coloured Resins have Ultimate Tensile Strength of 23 MPa.
• Rigid – Rigid10k resin has Ultimate Tensile Strength of 65MPa after post-curing
• Tough and Durable – Tough2000 resin has Ultimate Tensile Strength of 46MPa after post-curing and a Flexural Strength of 65 MPa.
• Flexible and Elastic – Flexible 80A has Ultimate Tensile Strength of 8.9 MPa, 3.1 MPa at 50% elongation
SLA printing is best for craftsman models, scale models characters and miniature printing for displays, gaming, film and animation industries due to the high dimensional accuracy.
With dimensional accuracy almost on par with injection molded parts any new product concept can be tested and validated with SLA printed parts. They can also be used for creating master patterns for silicone molding or vacuum casting.
Jewelry items can be directly printed with SLA printers with wide range of resins and colors, Master patterns can be made which can then be used to create the mold cavities for metal jewels.
Master patterns for vacuum casting and vacuum molding of packaging trays can be printed in SLA. Mold inserts can be 3D Printed instead of needing to machine the whole mold and can be used for injection molding. Rigid10k resin prints are capable of withstanding up to 1000 shot cycles creating more opportunities to produce early market production parts.
Dentures is another important area where stereolithography plays its role. Scanned rims of the patient can be converted into CAD models and both Denture Teeth (Artificial Teeth) and Denture Base (Soft tissue that holds the teeth) can be directly printed.
Advantages Of Stereolithography
Stereolithography method is capable of producing most dimensionally accurate parts down to 25 micrometers. High quality surface finish (Ra value) of as low as 0.4 to 2 micrometres can be achieved.
Limitations Of Stereolithography
Build Volume of SLA printers is limited to 300 x 200 x 300 mm. Common plastics like PP, PC, HDPE and PLA cannot be printed in SLA. SLA printers are costlier than FDM style printers.
Hope you find this article interesting and gave you a know-how on why to choose SLA 3d printers. At THINKFAB, we offer wide range of 3D Printer at a high competitive price. Click here to request for quote.
3D printers are no different than any other machine or tool; keep it clean and keep it lubricated so that it gives peak performance. Let’s dive into the best practices for keeping your 3D printer running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Keep your 3D printer well lubricated
Over time, the lubricants used to keep your 3D printer running smoothly will dry up or be pushed out of the bearings by regular motion and use. You should only add more lubricant if you find your 3D printer’s rods are a little dry after several hundred hours of 3D printing. Everyone recommends something a little different, especially depending on the type of motion system used. A good rule of thumb to follow is to check the recommended lubrication guidelines in your 3D printer’s manual, otherwise, you want to use greases for lead screws (except when your leadscrew nut is plastic as the grease can degrade the plastic) and oils for rods. A simple way to apply lubricant is to move the printer to all the minimum limits, add lubricant to the rods and screws, then move the printer to the maximum limits and repeat. This should decently lubricate your printer but in some circumstances you may need to remove the bearing completely in order to adequately lubricate it.
Dust the printer and its components regularly
As the 3D printer moves around, the seals on the bearings attached to each carriage will sweep dust to the limits of the motion system. You will find that the fans actually collect dust and can build up a sort of cobweb on them and anything near them including around the hotend. Any horizontal surface, no matter how hard it is to reach, will have some amount of dust. It’s an inevitability and while it won’t negatively impact your 3D prints (except if your build plate is dusty as that would prevent adhesion), it would be wise to give your 3D printer a good dusting off every month or so. A quick wipe with a microfiber cloth and canned air to clean off any of the hard-to-reach area is enough to keep your 3D printer in working order.
Check for loose nuts and bolts
Although it won’t often matter, in rare cases the fasteners that hold your 3D printer together can shake loose. Maybe they aren’t so loose they fall out, but I have found that some screws I thought were tight had actually loosened up over time and began affecting filament quality. Drive pulleys and lead screw couplers should be the first screws you check up on if you are already having 3D printer issues – screws that are key to proper motion are the most important to keep tight.
Clear any dust and debris from the extruder feeder wheels
A feature that is far from revolutionary, a 2.4-inch color touchscreen is your gateway to controlling the Ultimaker 2+ Connect. Touchscreens are something almost everyone is familiar with and they add a premium, modern feel to most products if done right. This feature won’t fundamentally change what is possible with the printer. Still, it’s a convenient gateway to quickly access settings, configure connectivity, and other sundry options. Hobbed gears are the key to your 3D printer reliably pushing filament through its system. Some gears have sharper teeth than others that enables them to have a firmer grip on filament, but if there’s a jam it can’t push through then you may find that the gears strip the filament and fill with filament dust. Clearing the jam at the nozzle won’t be the end of it, as now the gears will need to be cleared out before you can print again. With some extruders you can easily see the teeth and clean them out with some tweezers or a knife, others you will need to disassemble to get access to them. In general the teeth should be fine most of the time, but after a period of rough extruding, you will want to clean out the feeder gears. A feature that is far from revolutionary, a 2.4-inch color touchscreen is your gateway to controlling the Ultimaker 2+ Connect. Touchscreens are something almost everyone is familiar with and they add a premium, modern feel to most products if done right. This feature won’t fundamentally change what is possible with the printer. Still, it’s a convenient gateway to quickly access settings, configure connectivity, and other sundry options.
Make sure you remove loose bits of 3D printing debris
Skirts, purge blobs, failed prints and filament scraps have a tendency to accumulate around your 3D printer unless you are diligent cleaning it up and keeping a trashcan nearby. It’s much easier to stay on top of it before it becomes a problem, make it a good habit to pick up any debris whenever you get up to check on your prints, after you start a print and walk away, or when you grab your next finished print.
Check for overheated and deformed 3D printed parts
The proliferation of desktop 3D printers has meant that more and more of them are built using 3D printed components – components that would otherwise be much too expensive to manufacture using traditional techniques. However, because these printer parts are still made of plastic, they can encounter a phenomenon called “creep” where a stress exhibited on a part can over time cause it to sag and fail. Weight bearing components or heat-facing components can deform over an extended period of time and necessitate replacing in order to keep the 3D printer operational. The main printed parts you will want to look at are the parts under tension like bed-holders, belt tensioners, or spool holders or parts that may get warm, like motor mounts or hotend mounts. You don’t need to check for this often, maybe once every three months or so is sufficient, or of course if you notice some sudden difficulty with your 3D printer.
Tighten up your belts.
Typically, 3D printer belts are glass-fiber lined TPU. The glass-fibers add enough rigidity to prevent stretching yet are capable of bending around pulleys without weakening like steel-core belts. Stretching is going to happen as these belts will be under tension at all times, so regular replacement is necessary. An obvious way to tell that your belts are at the end of their lifespan is if the belt completely snaps or visibly stretches, or if your 3D prints are significantly over or under-sized despite your steps per mm not being changed from stock. Besides replacement of the belts, you should also give regular checkups to the tension overall as it is common for belts to slip from their attachment points, depending on what holds them in place. A quick way to properly tension is to tighten any belt tensioners to the point that the carriages stick and don’t move smoothly, then slowly loosen the tension just to the point where it runs well again.
Maintain and replace your bowden tube
Unless you’re using a PTFE tube as a guide tube on a direct drive 3D printer, you’re going to regularly replace the PTFE tube integral for bowden 3D printers. The small collet that holds the tube in place has small metal teeth and over time the regular retractions and extrusions that a 3D printer makes will pinch the bowden tube until it’s so worn out the collet just can’t grip it anymore. When this happens you will be able to see a clear difference in the outer diameter of the bowden tube or if you encounter even the smallest jam, the bowden tube will slide right out of the hotend or extruder, coiling loose filament everywhere. Temporarily, you can trim the bowden tube a few mm so the collet can grip a new portion of the tube, but you can only do this so much before the tube becomes too short to allow free movement of the printhead. Once it’s short enough, you will need to order a new bowden tube altogether and replace it.
Clean or replace your nozzle often
Almost every 3D printer comes standard with a brass nozzle for two reasons: brass is inexpensive to machine and is decently thermally conductive so it will heat up nicely. The benefits that make brass nozzles easy to make also means they are quite soft, well relatively so; jamming the nozzle into a glass bed or dragging it across the build surface can deform the nozzle orifice. Some 3D printing materials are abrasive, like the particles in glow-in-the-dark filament that makes them glow or the carbon fiber in Nylon, and they are abrasive enough to rather quickly tear up a brass nozzle, blowing out the diameter from 0.4mm to 0.8mm in less than a spool’s worth of filament in a worst-case-scenario. If your 3D printer just isn’t printing as well as it used to, a nozzle swap might be what you need to bring it back up to snuff. If you have a microscope or some magnifying glasses you might be able to see for yourself just how bad your nozzle actually is. Even if you never print with abrasive materials, you will want to replace your brass nozzle regularly, perhaps even once every 6 months of regular use.
Check that your bed is level regularly
Before the dawn of affordable bed levelling sensors, it was much more common to see 3D printers using springs and wingnuts to hold the printer’s bed to its carriage. Often this would mean that as the printer moves and vibrates the wingnuts and later thumb screws could shake themselves loose – maybe only a couple turns and in my experience even completely off the printer. Nowadays it is more often to see a bed rigidly mounted to the carriage and a sensor makes up the difference in the bed level before the start of every print. It’s much less pertinent to keep an eye on your 3D printer’s bed, but if your printer still uses springs, watch the skirt of your 3D prints at least once a week to be sure it’s not printing too far or too close.
Honorable Mention: Keep your firmware up to date
Firmware updates are just too important to ignore. One should regularly check if there is a new firmware update published for your 3D printer by the 3D printer manufacturer. These will often fix bugs or introduce new features for an improved performance, but unless your 3D printer has WiFi functionality and checks for itself for new updates, you will have to do the investigating yourself. Keep in mind that most manufacturers publish beta firmware updates that are mostly ready, but may have some kinks to iron out before calling it good to go, so keep that in mind before trying out any experimental firmware that you find.
Maintaining your 3D printer is an important yet often overlooked part of the 3D printing experience. As tedious as it can be at times to clean and take care of your machine, it’s just that, taking care of it to make sure it is always running at peak performance and you don’t have any premature failures of its components.
Ultimaker 2 is a bit of an FDM icon. Initially released in 2013, it gained a plus symbol with an update in 2016 adding a good collection of important updates. Ultimaker still wanted the printer to be up to date and has released the next evolution of the 2, the 2+ Connect, an evolution bringing a new 2.4-inch color touchscreen, an ergonomic feeder lever and the optional “Air Manager” system designed with user safety in mind. Let’s take a deep dive into what it has to offer for new 3D printing enthusiasts and professionals.
With Ultimaker using WiFi and internet connectivity to allow users from anywhere in the world to send prints via the company’s “Digital Factory” to the 2+ Connect. WiFi is no breakthrough technology to include on a printer. However, it does make things much easier for businesses and organizations of any kind.
Ultimaker has engineered a stiffer build plate and made sliding blocks more robust, which should make the 2+ Connect more reliable and durable over time. Tightening everything up should also allow the printer to be more stable during the printing process. Less vibration equals a higher quality finish, but Ultimaker seems to believe these changes will at least improve quality of life and durability over time.
Many materials in 3D printing will absorb moisture from the environment Scheduled maintenance is set to be just 4 hours a year, according to Ultimaker, with no special tools or equipment required, meaning the 2+ Connect should be able to keep up with the demands of a busy working life.
A feature that is far from revolutionary, a 2.4-inch color touchscreen is your gateway to controlling the Ultimaker 2+ Connect. Touchscreens are something almost everyone is familiar with and they add a premium, modern feel to most products if done right. This feature won’t fundamentally change what is possible with the printer. Still, it’s a convenient gateway to quickly access settings, configure connectivity, and other sundry options.
Designed to simply and effectively increase user safety, the Air manager removes up to 95% UFPs and shield users from hot and moving components inside the printer. The Ultimaker 2+ Connect Air Manager includes a single-speed fan to efficiently pull air through a large EPA filter. This gives you the flexibility to safely install multiple printers in one location. Also it fully covers the Ultimaker 2+ Connect’s build chamber with a front enclosure for a more stable printing environment, preventing anyone from touching hot and moving components and a draft entering the build space.
The Ultimaker 2+ Connect is compatible with a selection of nozzle sizes that can swap out depending on your task just as the Ultimaker 2+ did. As these nozzles are swappable so it is easy to change the nozzle in a minute. Different sizes are available: 0.25mm for detailed prints, 0.4 and 0.6mm for regular prints and 0.8mm for fast drafts.
The space you have to print on the 2+ Connect is listed at 223 x 220 x 205 mm. This is a decent build volume giving a lot of design and placement freedom.
• Technology: Fused deposition modeling (FDM) • Year: 2020 • Assembly: Assembled • Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian XY-head • Manufacturer: Ultimaker • Build volume: 223 x 220 x 205 mm • Feeder system: Bowden • Nozzle size: 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 or 0.8 mm • Max. heated bed temperature: 110 ℃ • Print bed material: Tempered glass plate • Bed leveling: Manual • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB • Print recovery: Yes • Filament sensor: Yes • Filament diameter: 2.85 mm • Third-party filament: Yes • Filament materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, Wood
All in all, Ultimaker 2+ Connect is a great professional FDM 3D Printer that comes at an affordable price point. At THINKFAB, we offer Ultimaker 2+ Connect 3D Printer at a high competitive price. Click here to request for quote.