Monday, May 8, 2017

M3D Pro - Observations from the Backer Forums

This post is not meant to be critical of anyone.  It's simply meant to be helpful when you take delivery of your own M3D Pro printer.

Some of you may be old enough to remember that all new cars came with instructions for the new owner about a "break in period".  The break in period lasted for a specified number of miles and owners were expected to treat the new car rather gently for that period of time.  Primarily, it was meant to keep a little issue from becoming a big one if the automobile was run too hard.  Plus, it allowed all the bearings and valves to properly seat and ensured oil was evenly distributed before any heavy pressure was put on the motor.

In a sense, a newly released 3D printer also deserves to be treated a bit more gently than you might 10 months down the road.  Based on what I've read that's not a universally understood principle.

USE NEW FILAMENT

The first way to treat your new printer with respect is to get used to it's personality without undue stress by using brand new filament... preferably purchased from the vendor selling the printer.  Believe it or not, some have mentioned using old filament that they've had around for a while.

Bad idea.

PLA easily absorbs moisture from the air and degrades fairly quickly.  Using old filament might mislead you into thinking their is a problem with the printer when the true cause of failures is water in the filament itself.

PRINT REASONABLE OBJECTS

Another thing I've observed is that those new to 3D printing will often download an STL from one of the 3D object sharing sights, not realizing that filament-based 3D Printers (FDM) do not handle unsupported features without adding some support.  I made that mistake when I took delivery of my first Cube 3D printer.  The object I downloaded was actually impossible for any FDM printer to print... even with supports because the piece was entirely too convoluted.  It was meant to be printed with a powder-based printer, with the surrounding powder providing the need supports.

An example of an inappropriate object might look like this:

Unsupported Box
It looks easy enough to print; but the unsupported top rails will sag and destroy the print.  As a new user, it's easy to think that something is wrong with the printer.  But, in fact it is the design of the object that makes it difficult to print in an FDM 3D printer.

PRINT SMALLER OBJECTS AT FIRST

New users quickly learn that 3D printing takes time.  And bigger prints take a lot more time than smaller prints.  When you are getting to know a new 3D printer it is much better to print small or moderately small objects so that you can observe the printer in action with several different objects over the same time period a single laeg object might print.  These short prints make it easier to observe the result, make adjustments and reprint if needed.  In the end, your printer will be in better adjustment than it might be had you printed a single large object in the very same time span.

ADJUST FIRST, THEN PRINT

Your new printer has been bouncing around in a box in a truck on its way to you.  While they are pack extremely well and were tested at the factory, there is a good chance that the Gap and Level needs to be set before you will get great prints from your new printer.  If you need help, you can Google "M3D SETTING GAP" or "M3D SETTING LEVEL" to find the help you need.  Over time, we expect to produce tutorial videos and articles specifically for the M3D Micro and the M3D Pro.

In the meantime you can post a question as a comment on this blog and I'll do my best to try to find the answer to your specific issue.

I want nothing more than for you to enjoy your Micro or Pro with as little hassle and stress as possible.  The less you stress your printer, the less it will stress you.  It's just common sense.

If you need some suggestions for objects to print that will help you better understand how to get the most out of your printer, again, feel free to ask me in a comment.  I want this to be a community that shares tips and ideas so that we all grow in expertise while having a lot of fun.

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