Tools of the Trade, You Need These Now!

Every trade needs its specialty tools, and a 3D maker is no different. In this article, I will supply you with all the necessary tools of the trade when it comes to 3D Printing! I will also provide Amazon links for you to buy them on the cheap.

hair spray, tape and glue stickAdhesion

We must start with adhesion because if the print won’t stick, you won’t have a print.  It will be more like a blob of wasted filament. There are multiple cheap ways to ensure your print will stick to your bed, the most common is Masking Tape, Glue Sticks, and Hair Spray. From my personal experience, they all work really well. They all their shortcomings. The masking tape is a pain to apply and remove, the glue sticks leave a messy residue on your bed and your prints, but the hairspray is cleaner but doesn’t work as well as the others. They all have their negatives, but these are valuable tools of the trade to get the job done when it comes to adhesion.

palette knife tools of the tradePalette Knives

Sometimes your adhesion works too well and the print won’t come off the bed very easily. This is when you need a palette knife to remove the print without causing any damages to it. There is a large selection online for palette knives, some are expensive and some are very cheap. To be honest, all you need is one and the patience to remove it without stabbing into your print.  Also, make sure your print has cooled down before attempting to remove it from the bed.

razor and debur toolGeneral Blades

Your print is done and you start to feel pride in your work, but at that moment you see minor imperfections that are driving you crazy!  It’s time to touch it up a bit!  The next tool of the trade is a simple X-Acto Knife or a Deburring tool.  With one of these, you can correct these pesky imperfections. Sadly it happens to all of us, so don’t be discouraged when you come across these issues. No print is perfect. Also, make sure you buy a few replacement blades, you will need them!

snips and pliers - tools of the tradePull & Cut

On some occasions, you have a ridiculous amount of support stuck to your print. They are not always very easy to remove. Instead of homing in on your superhuman strength to remove them, use one of these to make your life easier!  Use a pair of Needle Nose Pliers to yank them out with ease!  How about a pair of Wire Cutters to cut them out and send them to their plastic graves?  These simple tools of the trade will save you lots of time and aggravation.

hex allen wrenchesWe need more!

When you first purchase your 3D printer, the manufacturer usually ships Hex key wrenches made for the printer with it. These tools usually don’t last long. They are either lost or broken fairly quickly. It is a smart idea to have a backup set. When it comes to 3D printers you will be making several adjustments to your machine in order to create that perfect print, so it would be best to replace the crummy ones with a decent set. They are not expensive and could also be used for other projects as well. You can never have enough tools!

painting supplies for tools of the tradeFinishing Prints

If you are anything like me, you don’t always want to print something useful. Sometimes you’re in the mood to print a fun replica item like Links Master Sword!  Our next entry on the tools of the trade list will help bring your finished model to the next level!  After you have printed out all the pieces and used your general blades to remove all those imperfections, you will need to sand and detail those adjustments. Then spray it down with some Primer filler and sand some more! Once you have it to your liking you can start to use your Acrylic paints to give it that realistic look. Just think how this is going to look like once you have completed your project. AHHH! I can’t wait!

more software logos for tools of the tradeSoftware

Last but not least you will need the software. We should start with the slicers, a slicer is a software that creates the GCODE commands to tell your printer what to print.  Let’s start with a few free slicers like Cura, & Raised 3D’s IdeaMaker. They are the most common and well-designed slicers out there for absolutely no money. I personally use IdeaMaker. In my opinion, none can compare to the slicer power of Simplify3D. Sadly it’s not free and it’s rather expensive, but I feel it’s the best of the best when it comes to slicers.

software logos for some tools of the tradeAfter long, you will get tired of downloading STL’s from sites like Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory and will want to start designing your own 3d prints. A great 3D design software to start with would be Blender. This is an amazing piece of free software to start off for beginners and intermediate designers. Another great piece of software for designing functional models is Fusion360. Once you have learned these tools of the trade, there is nothing that you can’t make!  Nothing!

Tools of the Trade

Now you have your hands on almost every tool that you could possibly need when it comes to 3D printing! Its always best to learn a few more tips and tricks. listed here is some info on Bed Leveling for Beginners. read it! it will be helpful! I hope this article was extremely useful to you. Happy Printing!

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