What Do I Need to Start 3D Printing?

What Do I Need to Start 3D Printing?

Printers

When starting out, it’s important to go for a more cost-effective machine to begin. This allows you to get a grip with the concept and overcome any learning curves. These machines will print basic materials such as PLA and PETG which we’ll take a look at below. Here are some machines we stock that we would recommend to beginners.

The Ender 2 PRO and Ender 3 are great beginner printers as they are very affordable. They offer a lot of features for their price, making them an excellent value for beginners who are just starting out with 3D printing. This is especially important for those who are not sure if they will enjoy 3D printing in the long term, as they can try it out without breaking the bank.

The Ender series is relatively easy to assemble and operate, even for beginners. The printer comes with clear instructions and there are numerous online tutorials and resources available to help users set up and troubleshoot any issues they may encounter.

Creality is a popular brand of printer which means there is a large community available and resources for support if you’re ever stuck or need troubleshooting.

Also known for producing high-quality prints despite their low cost. They have a large build volume, which means users can print larger objects, and they can print at high resolutions, making them suitable for detailed prints.

Like the Ender series, Artillery printers are known for being affordable. They offer many advanced features that are typically found on more expensive printers such as a filament runout sensor and auto-levelling, making them an excellent value for beginners who are on a tight budget.

Artillery printers are also known for their high print quality and reliability. They have a sturdy build, with high-quality components that allow for precise and consistent printing. This is important for beginners who may not have the experience or technical knowledge to troubleshoot more complex issues.

They’re also relatively easy to set up and operate, even for beginners. They come with clear instructions and are designed to be user-friendly. Additionally, the company provides excellent customer support, which is essential for those who may have questions or need assistance during the printing process.

After some time, some parts of the printer may need to be replaced. The nozzles eventually wear down and need to be replaced. You can also purchase steel or hardened nozzles which can be used to print more abrasive materials such as carbon fibre or metal composites. We would also recommend accessories such as Print Bite, which can be used to cover a worn print bed and provide extra adhesion. If you’re struggling to keep prints stuck to the print bed, we would recommend 3DLac, a spray-on adhesive that can be used liberally and be cleaned off if needed.

Materials

There are several materials that are suitable for beginners to use when 3D printing. The most common materials are PLA and PETG, which are widely available and easy to work with.

PLA (polylactic acid) is a biodegradable and non-toxic material made from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. It is a popular choice for beginners due to its ease of use, low printing temperature, and minimal warping. PLA is also available in a wide range of colours and is suitable for a variety of applications, including toys, models, and household items.

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) is a popular thermoplastic material used in 3D printing due to its excellent mechanical properties and ease of use. PETG is a type of copolyester that is known for its high strength, durability, and chemical resistance. It is a clear, odorless, and food-safe material that can be easily printed using most 3D printers.

PETG is a versatile material that can be used in a wide range of applications, including prototyping, manufacturing, and functional parts. It is commonly used in the production of water bottles, food containers, and medical equipment due to its non-toxic and hygienic properties.

Other materials that beginners can consider include ABS and TPU. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a common thermoplastic used in 3D printing due to its strong and durable properties, however an enclosure should be used as it releases harmful fumes while printing. TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a flexible and elastic material that is ideal for printing objects such as phone cases or rubber seals. Flexibles are more of an intermediate material as they have their own learning curve when it comes to printing.

eSUN PLA+ is a great material for beginners in 3D printing for several reasons. Firstly, it is a variant of the popular PLA filament, which is one of the easiest and most common filaments to work with. PLA+ filament has a lower melting point than ABS, making it easier to print with and reducing the risk of warping during the printing process.

PLA+ has improved mechanical properties compared to standard PLA filaments, such as higher tensile strength and impact resistance. This makes it more suitable for printing functional parts, such as toys or household items.

It’s also available in a wide range of colours, making it perfect for those who want to create vibrant and colourful 3D prints. Additionally, eSun is a reputable manufacturer known for producing high-quality filaments, ensuring consistency and reliability in each print.

eSUN PLA+ is an environmentally friendly material that is biodegradable and made from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. This makes it a great choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact while still enjoying the benefits of 3D printing.

PolyTerra PLA is a popular choice for beginners in 3D printing for several reasons. Firstly, it is an easy material to use, making it an ideal option for those who are new to the world of 3D printing. It does not require a heated bed, and its low printing temperature means it is less likely to warp or shrink. This makes it easier to achieve successful prints, which can be a great confidence booster for those who are just starting out.

Another significant advantage of PolyTerra PLA is its eco-friendliness. It is made from renewable and biodegradable resources such as cornstarch, sugarcane, and other plant-based materials. This means that it has a lower carbon footprint than many other types of plastics, which is a benefit for those who are environmentally conscious. The fact that it is biodegradable also means that it will break down over time, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Polymaker also plants a tree in Europe for every spool sold, giving the manufacturing process a negative carbon footprint.

PolyTerra PLA is a versatile material that can be used to create a wide range of objects. It is suitable for creating both decorative items, such as toys and figurines, and functional parts, such as replacement parts for machines or devices. This versatility makes it a popular choice for hobbyists and professionals alike, as it offers a lot of creative potential while still being easy to work with.

Fillamentum PLA Extrafill is a premium filament with a wide range of colours. With its exceptional lamination and high-quality printing capabilities, this material is perfect for printing even the trickiest of details. Like most PLA, it’s made from natural and biodegradable ingredients, it can be easily disposed of via industrial composting.

PLA Extrafill boasts a variety of features including excellent surface quality, ease of use at high print speeds, and suitability for both home and office environments. Its aesthetic appeal makes it ideal for creating models and prototypes that require fine details, and with a wide range of color options available, it is perfect for creating visually striking prints. Additionally, it has a high surface hardness and is suitable for room-temperature applications.

This material has a low odor and is BPA-free and styrene-free, making it safe for use in electrical and electronic equipment. Mots of the colours are also safe for food contact applications, with a declaration available upon request. Its biodegradability and 100% bio-based composition make it an eco-friendly option for 3D printing.

Now you’re ready to start printing. You can read more about other materials in our knowledge base. You’ll soon find yourself printing all manor of creative and useful items, including things you may have never thought of printing before. If you require any support or have any questions about 3D printing, we’re always available to chat via email, phone and live chat. If you’re local to Essex, you’re also welcome to pop in.

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