3D Printing Details to Learn & Know

  • I don’t know why the editor won’t allow me to escape this list-type typographical circle, so here we go, anyway:

  • Wall Line Width – the width of a single wall line
  • Top/Bottom Line Width – the line width of both the top and bottom layers
  • Infill Line Width – the line width of all your infill
  • Skirt/Brim Line Width – the width of your skirt and brim lines
  • Support Line Width – the line width of your support structures
  • Support Interface Line Width – the width of a support interface line
  • Initial Layer Line Width – the width of your first layer
very fine, and sharp, picks
Dental Picks are versatile. And sharp!

Something among a million other little tools I’ve found useful is dental picks. To clean the nozzle for one thing. And I applaud myself for being able to locate a .4mm hole facing downward in the distance in a dimly lit room. My location senses for zeroing in on prey are still calibrated.

Cleaning the Nozzle Tip

senor sandpaper
Dice "Hola" a Senor Serendipitous Sandpaper, por favor.

This is a sanding block I 3D prnted sitting atop my storage container with a sticker I could find no other use for months ago.

I hope this isn't something akin to "Wilson" in the Tom Hanks movie blossoming.

Some Bed-Levelling tips. There’s no end to what needs to be checked and adjusted, it seems. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. This is some important information related to Anycubic Mega printers. I have an “S” but I think there are a fair number of printers out there that you adjust the bed this way: turning knobs manually at every corner to raise or lower that corner by an unidentified amount of space. If anything needs to be digitalized next in 3 D printing, it’s this.

What I envision is something in the keypad under the “AXIS” button that allows you to see where each corner is initially, and then how far it’s moved while adjusting it manually. Or, preferentially, servo motor and digitally. What would be nice, really is to be able to have the “keypad” interface available online, under my IP address, like Octorprint. Or on my phone, or in an app. Maybe one day…

For now, I’ll have to do what I’m doing. Which is this:


I realize posting a photo of writing devoids the whole thing of SEO value, save the ALT-tag, but I don’t think that will destroy my readership. The post is still searchable by the term “bed-leveling.” Drifting off-topic.

Calculating the Value for the Correct Steps per Millimeter

The task of using this device is solving a never-ending series of issues. Some are minuscule, some are catastrophic. And in-between is where we hope to exist, preferably closer to minuscule. But sometimes it feels like navigating Cat-5 rapids in a canoe alone using toothpicks as paddles. Metaphor: Trademark: Me.

You can always optimize anything. And sometimes it feels like you can optimize everything, it’s so messed up. The nice thing is there are brilliant people working on making the ecosystem better 24/7/365 right now. It is very popular, among people who by nature tend to do things right and complete projects. Two things that are critical for there to be a sustain of momentum.

Which has nothing to do with calculating the correct steps per mm, which you know is vital to optimal output, except as an example of so, the thing you’ll have to know how to do to consistently get high-quality prints on your unique printer. And it seems after they get some usage by the owner, they all start to take on characteristics of their own. They wear differently, are working on different workstations in different environments under different stresses. So, use your printer a lot, and you’ll eventually see what I mean. There begin to be deviations, in the statistical term/world. And without constant adjustment, the deviations may become greater or lessen, or plateau, or…who knows what?

And you can’t have outliers and deviations! How can you eat your meat with deviations and outliers!?

By live-tuning/leveling the bed, it seems, which I found myself doing. I thought it was sloppy, but learned it’s in fact a common method of handling things en route, once you become more experienced. So that’s a positive sign for me. It’s like changing a tire on a moving car. That zig-zags in 3 dimensions unexpectedly. So maybe like changing a blade on a flying helicopter. But the blade doesn’t travel along the Z-axis. So the car metaphor was accurate. Moving along…

Touchscreen for Anycubic Mega S
As Jim Morrison requested many times, Touch Me

The layout and UI aren’t optimal, but it’s learnable, which is the main thing. I’m finding myself having to quickly go to a certain spot along the map, and knowing the routes is just muscle memory.

Some of these settings can be adjusted through my slicing software, and in fact, the joystick-type controls in Cura are easier to use than jogging the hot end all over the place using the touchscreen, which is for smaller hands. There’s an elevated sense of precision in design, in other words. And often when I level the bed, I move the hot end around the plane using Cura and my trackball/mouse. That’s the simplest way I’ve found to do leveling so far.

Printing a 3d-robot army for Cecelia. For her use, not to come after her.

This print I have going now is moving along flawlessly. That’s how it’s now going: many fails, lots of tweaking, eventual success. I’m excited about it. I’ve had so many cancellations and failures lately, it wears you down. In life and with 3D printing.

I took the adhesive surface square that came from China because I think the center area of it had given all it had. I tried purple glue on it, but that was no better.

So off it came. Back to the bare glass underneath. Which I cleaned, but there’s admittedly some residue left there I wish I had tended to for visuals, if nothing else. I quartered the adhesive 220mmx220mm and put a piece down in the center, in the main printing area. As you can see, it worked great. So I’ll take advantage of this situation.

3d-printing robot

As seen to the left,

I’ve got a great print going on with a silky earthy colorful filament which makes the robot look like it’s metallic. Or even an exotic mineral/stone. It depends on how the light hits it.

The “Never Stop Creating” sticker was a gift from @Headliner. Perfect spot. Perfect size. I wish it were different colors, but it has a worn vignette, which is a nice touch I guess. Much better than what’s underneath, which is a yellow warning. It’s an item that’s there as a result of a governmental regulatory committee, so it’s best not to stare at it too long.

M the robotsitting in the dark

I’ve been printing these robots because they’re pretty quick, clean and easy to print and I think my daughter would like to play with them, preferably articulated. They printed out clean, but the extrusion is too wide so the limbs to move, particularly the legs. The arms are great.

So I’m checking some very fine tunings. I’m printing now with a line width the same as nozzle diameter: Initial layer height: .4mm; Layer Height: .2mm; .6mm wall thickness; Layer width: .2mm. We’ll see if that gives any/enough “Clearance,” which is a term used in the articulated world, meaning the distance within the joints.

The next measure(pun intended) is to check my E-steps. My Wha!?

There’s so much helpful documentation, and more importantly, beating hearts, that’s willing to help others with this endeavor. I find it wonderful, especially when things tend to get more technical or engineery than I’m used to. But finding help is pretty easy and frictionless. The thing about the types of people that are drawn to 3d printing is that they tend to complete their jobs, and even go beyond, which is what I’m used to. That isn’t the general public, believe me. Whether you’re shaking your head or nodding along shows what type you are. I’m not here to shame. I’m here to learn. And everyone has different standards and is capable of judging those standards at different levels of proficiency. Believe me. What you don’t want is no standards and no gauge or metric to base and judge standards throughout life. Or trying to use subjective measurements, such as “feelings.” What one person may blow off and never think of again is someone else’s lifelong nightmare and greatest offense ever. And they’ll go around telling everyone as much, whether realistic and justified or not.

That veered off-topic. It’s been a hectic day/week/month/year/decade.

I was going on about what a great bunch of resources there is for anyone who wants to jump in the pool, from whatever side and from the deep end to the high dive. You don’t need an advanced degree or specialized training to make things with a 3D printer. And kids grasp the software and abstract modeling thought really well. But you do have to be able to teach yourself, with impressive support from the community. As an autodidact and the internet being around for some time now, I’ve been around the block with different online communities and spot winners and losers pretty easily these days. If I sense any negativity, it’s most likely already corroded.

Either taking a smoke break or plotting to take over the humans.

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