3D printer@lab

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3D Printer @ Lab

3D Printing is a Technology which makes it possible to reproduce digital objects in physical space.
The 3D Printer in the Lab is a Ultimaker 3. It utilizes so called FDM Technology to produce three dimensional objects. It is operated with the Cura Slicing Software


Please read this when you never used a 3D Printer!
The Nozzle and Parts inside the Printhead get Hot (200 degrees Celsius or more),
so make sure not to touch anything with your hand when the printer is heated up.
Also dont put your hand insinde the printer while its printing, the printhead moves around quickly and can squeeze your fingers badly.
Don´t leave the machine working unsupervised, unless you´re certain what you´re doing and super experienced with 3D Printing.
Hint: Printed parts can get loose during the printing process and then mess up and damage the printer.
Make sure to respray the build plate after serveral prints and especially when you do a large and long running print.
Alway check the preview in your slicing software before printing to recognize errors even before printing.
Do not use unapropiate tools when you have a problem with the printhead.
If you encounter problems, please ask somebody who knows how to help it.
And last but not least: 3D Printing is slow, so you have be patient ;-)

Getting started

To sum it up:

Here you´ll find information aimed at helping you getting started with 3D Printing.


For 3D Printing apart from software for creating, manipulating and repairing 3D Files themselfes you will need a so called "Slicer".
It takes your 3D Model and slices it into single layers and then calculates the machine code to print out the object layers by layer on the printer.
The finished machine code (GCODE) is then transferred to the printer to print it out.
This could be done via an SD Card, USB Cable or Network.


FDM / Fused Deposition Modelling:

This is the technique that is pretty popular among home and hobby users and that could be considered as some kind of standard technique in 3D Printing. The Printer you find sitting on the Workbench in the Lab falls also into this category. It works by having a Roll of thin Plastic Filament which is melted by heat inside a print head. The head moves around a motion path while extruding the plastic through a thin nozzle to the final shape of the Object. Typicaly this happens layer by layer, in single vertical slices. So you could argue that this is not 3D but 2.5D printing, because the head not freely moves around in all 3 dimensions while printing.

FDM Printers work with different types of plastic, or filaments as you would call it. The color of the printed object is the same as the material you feed the printer with. Although some printers have two or more nozzles inside their printhead they could print with two colors. Some mixing extruders for three colors exist, but they still should be considered as experimental. A more interesting aspect of printing with two materials at once is the combination of different types of plastics with different properties. The Filament exists in two standard diamenters, 2.75mm (thick) and 1.75mm (thin). They are not interchangeable so better make sure you choose the right diameter before buying filament. If you buy filament for the using in the Ultimaker 3 in the Lab, make sure to buy 2.75mm ones. Also don´t buy filament marketed as 3mm, because it will be to thick and therefore unusable. As we are talking about dimensions there are some other ones which are to be known. One is the dimension of your printing nozzle in the printing head. Typically it has a size of 0.4mm, which determine that the finest line or detail, which could be drawn by the printer is in the same range. The other one is the layer height. The smaller the slices are, the finer will the detail of the printed object be, but it will take way more time. Typical layer heights reach from 0.05mm to 0.3mm.

FDM Materials

Paste extrusion

Paste extrusion works similar to FDM Printing but instead melting a string of plastics a pasteous material is deposited throught a nozzle.
Because the paste is not getting hard by cooling down the viscosity is very important. If its to low then the extruder can not output it and if its to high then the structure you are trying to print will collapse. Because of the general instability of the paste, not everything printable on an FDM machine is also printable in paste. Recommendation is to first try to print a vase, because chances are higher that you´ll get usable results. From there experimentation will carry you on. If your interested you can take a look @ Clay extrusion.

Resin Based Printers :

Resin Based Printers work by exposing a UV-curable resin to UV Light source which is modulated via an LCD Screen or on DLP Chip. This is also done Layer based, but typicaly the finest layer heights reachable are much finer. Also the vertical resolution is much finer and way more precise than in FDM printing. To leave no liquid resin inside the printed parts they are printed massive, or with 100% infill as you could call it. After the printing process the object needs to be washed and cured to make sure that no unexposed and sticky resin stays on the part. The Resin is not available in a wide variety of colors, typical you could choose from transparent, black or white. Urs Fries has a printer unsing this technology, so if you want to print something with this method please ask him kindly.

3DP - Powder Based.

Powder Based Printers work by depositing a thin layer of powder to the printbed. The powder is then threated with some kind of binder before the next layer of powder is applied. Depending on the type pf powder the deposition can be issued with inkjet printheads or with melting the powder with an laser. The following Inkjet Printheads are consindered as hackable for a diy approach to this technology: -XAAR128 -HP45 For more information on that topic a reading in the forum @ https://ytec3d.com/oasis-3dp/ is recommended.

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