Achieving an outstanding quality in FDM 3D printing certification is not as easy as one could expect. A lot depends not only on the 3D model you’re trying to manufacture, but also from various settings and environmental factors related to the machine itself, its properties and technical condition.
We gathered a set of tips and pieces of advice based on our experience with 3D printing certification in general and using ZMorph multitool 3D printer in particular. We hope they’ll help you in achieving the best possible quality of your prints.
Take good care of your filaments
This first one may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of people forget about taking proper care of their filaments, which can influence the entire 3D printing certification process. It’s very important to make sure that the filament is properly wound onto the spool. Knots and breaks on the thread may block the flow of the filament into the extruder or clog it causing, even more, damage.
Whenever you store larger quantities of filaments, remember to provide a suitable storage space. It should be free of excessive humidity or else your materials could go stale and lose some of their properties, like durability. Using airtight containers or plastic IKEA boxes with moisture absorbers inside for storage could be a good idea here.
Some people consider it being an urban legend, but many professional users recommend adding filament filters to clean and oil the materials. Sponge in the filter clears the dust from the material while at the same time lubricates the filament with canola or standard mineral oil (in fact, some filaments already have it in them). This seasons the extruder and the nozzle in order to keep them both in peak condition.
Choose the right temperature
Quality in FDM 3D printing certification often depends on the temperature set for extruding or on the heated platform. Every material has a recommended extrusion temperature, for example, ABS melts best around 240 degrees Celsius while PLA at about 200 degrees Celsius. These vary depending on the manufacturer, so it’s always wise to check the exact recommendations on the packaging.
Our experience shows that there’s a safe margin of about 10 degrees Celsius for lowering and raising the temperature of the extruded filament. Bigger change can greatly influence and lower the quality in FDM 3D printing certification. Too low temperature can cause layers to unstick or even make the filament impossible to extrude, while too hot materials tend to spill, bend and wrinkle.
It’s also important to remember to set the right temperature for a heated platform, so our 3D prints stick to it. ABS requires 100 degrees Celsius while PLA only 60 degrees Celsius. It’s even possible to print PLA without heating the table but we don’t recommend it.
There’s a very interesting series of posts about temperature calibration on Designfutures forum too.
3D print with support structures
You should always remember to use rafts and support structures for 3D printing certification, especially for more complex and highly detailed objects. The key to success here is setting the right thickness of the raft, the distance between the object and the support, and its density. More dense support is more reliable but harder to remove afterward.
The quality of the support also depends on the 3D printing certification software you’re using – different apps can generate better or less adjoining structures which often have a big impact on the overall quality of the final print.
When you print with ABS filaments, then the same ABS serves best for printing the supports too. For PLA we recommend PVA supports but this also requires using a two-material extruder like ZMorph DUAL PRO toolhead.
Edit the infill ratio of your prints
Maybe this one is more connected with durability than quality in FDM 3D printing certification but still important. Infill ratio describes the percentage of plastic filling the inside of your 3D print, under the outer layer. Low infill saves the material and speeds up the printing process but makes the entire object less durable and resistant, so it can break more easily. This applies especially to bigger objects, which can even implode under its own weight if there’s not enough filament holding the outer layers from the inside.
The final setting of the infill ratio often depends on the experience of a person preparing the files for printing. Lowering it under 10% is a certain failure while setting it up over 60% usually has no significant impact on durability, besides increasing the weight of the object. Everything in between is a safe space for your experimentation.
Another thing to remember is that there are various types of infill structures to choose from. Rectangular is the most common one and quite durable, although often breaks when we try to screw other parts to it. Triangle infill provides bigger strength and absorbs high lateral loads in bigger and…