3D printing is an exciting challenge for beginners and professionals alike. It’s exciting because it allows you to exercise your creativity with a range of materials like filament that glows in the dark or can conduct electricity.
At the same time, 3D printing is highly technical especially when dealing with custom designs or exotic materials. How do you ensure your prints turn out the way you want them to?
What Is A Good Print Speed For 3D Printers?
Print speed is influenced by several factors. In a print that requires more intricate detail for example, a slower speed will produce a higher resolution finish. Also, certain materials like TPU have a tendency to warp when printed at a faster speed. PLA on the other hand can be printed at a faster speed without warping. 50 to 60 millimeters per second is a standard benchmark speed for most materials.
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Print speed is influenced by printer settings like layer height, infill and shell thickness. Increasing the value on any of these settings adds more material to the build and decreases the print speed. This can help you achieve better detail to your prints.
Decreasing the value on layer height, infill or shell thickness reduces material and increases print speed.
Materials, temperature, layer height and print speed are some of the most important factors in determining the quality of a print. They can literally make or break a 3D print. For example, when printing items with a lot of detail, printing at a slower speed yields better results.
There are several other ways in which you can alter the appearance or strength of your 3D prints. In this guide, we run through some of the most important ways you need to know.
What Factors Affects Quality Of 3D Printing?
The most important consideration in 3D printing is firstly what material to use. Filaments have different characteristics like strength, flexibility, durability, heat and chemical resistance. The individual properties of a material will have the largest impact on the quality of the print.
What Materials Should You Use?
The specific properties of the materials you choose to work with will determine how well your print turns out. Paying close attention to the type, brand and condition of your materials pays off big in ensuring your print comes out as strong or as flexible as you need.
The type of material
There are over 20 different types of filament. When choosing filament you should consider how you intend to use it and what its properties are in relation to that.
For example, if your print is intended for outdoor use then you would want to use filament that is waterproof and heat-resistant. In this case you would want to use either PETG or ABS. You could use PLA although it has an inferior heat-resistance compared to the first two options.
Not all filament brands are alike. You can easily put two different brands of PLA together and get two very different results. This is one of the reasons why mixing filament from different brands can produce a weaker print.
The condition of the material
Filament is sensitive to water and to a lesser degree, light. Wet filament produces prints that are brittle, have gaps or layer separation. Storing filament in a way that keeps it dry and away from light reduces the occurrence of flaws related to moisture absorption.
How Can I Improve My 3D Print Quality?
Print settings play a big role in determining whether material will extrude properly or whether a print will warp for example. Calibrating a printer with the right temperature, speed, layer height, shell thickness or infill density influences the strength, appearance or flexibility of a print.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with a 3D print. The most common are:
- Brittle prints or prints that break easily.
- Layer separation
- Poor appearance
How To Fix 3D Prints That Keep Breaking ?
If your prints routinely break or become brittle first check to make sure you are storing it properly and keeping it dry. Always dry filament if you suspect it could have absorbed moisture. Nylon for example, is particularly moisture absorbent and becomes saturated in less than 24 hours.
Aside from drying there are two settings you can change to improve the strength of your print. These are the infill and shell thickness.
Infill percentage determines how hollow your print is. Printing with a lower density or percentage means your print will be more hollow. A 0 percent infill for example makes your print completely hollow.
Increasing the density makes your print more “full” and stronger as a result. With that said, you should also consider the material you use. You can print a stronger part with a lower infill if you use a strong filament like Polycarbonate (PC). To get the same strength using ABS or PLA you can increase the infill.
Shell thickness is the thickness of the outer layers of a print. Printing thicker outer layers can make your items stronger. This does however mean your prints will use more material and be heavier. Similar to infill density, an alternative would be to use a stronger filament but with thinner layers to get the same result.
Also, check out “How To Fix Layer Separation In 3D Printing?“