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3D Printing/Maintenance

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

3D printers are complex machines that require maintenance to operate efficiently.

Diagrams[edit | edit source]

Axis Alignment[edit | edit source]

On the left is a properly lubricated and axis aligned printer. On the right is a printer without recent lubrication and misaligned axis, resulting in print errors.

Tension and Backlash[edit | edit source]

Proper belt tension is essential for accurate prints. A slacking belt, known as backlash, will result in less accurate printing along a given axis.

Build Plates[edit | edit source]

A properly leveled build plate is essential for adhesion. A slight slant in relation to the extruder will result in significant enough differences in height by the extremes of the build area to cause a print to fail. Leveling a build plate prior to printing is a common task, and one should get used to doing so on models of printers without automatic plate leveling. Fortunately, time is typically the only cost with build plate leveling.
A warped build plat can also cause errors. This is less easy to correct, and depending on the level of warp and the plate material, a replacement plate is sometimes needed.

Calibration[edit | edit source]

Improper calibration can result in first layer issues. Printing too low on a plate will result in too thin a first layer, causing issues. Printing too high over the plate will result in the print not having a solid base, likely failing as a result.
Poorly calibrated FFF printers are prone to producing a defect in prints known as "Elephant's Foot". This results in a base which is slightly larger then the layers above it. This issue is important for prints where aesthetics and precision are important. For some less important prints (IE: Simple decorations), this defect may be acceptable. However correcting this may still help avoid other more serious calibration issues.

References[edit | edit source]