3D Printing Starters Guide, FAQ, Helpdesk, General Talk Thread

I’m bamboozled that no one else has taken the time to make a thread about 3D printing.

So here it is.

My printers:


Additive Manufacturing= A process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material.

FDM= Fused Deposition Modeling, the most prevalent type in the consumer market, lays down molten plastic in a 2D pattern again and again and again and again and again and agaaaaaaaaaaaaain, until you get your desired 3D thing.

SLA= Stereo Lithography (add apparatus for the a). A platform sits in a vat of some sort of resin, gets exposed to light either with a projector or a laser, resin cures for that layer, platform lifts up one layer. Pretty much makes your part upside down. capable of extremely fine details

SLS= Selective Laser Sintering is a sort of hybrid where a FDM style nozzle lays down METAL OR CERAMIC
dust, and zaps it with a super powerful laser to melt the dust, sintering it into a thing, builds layer by layer just like everything else.

#n00b answers for n00b questions (not serious, maybe?):

What is a FDM printer?

A really, really smart hot glue gun.

What is a SLA printer?

A laser projecter so powerful they had to protect the world from it by covering it in goo.

What is a SLS printer?


Youtuber stuffs

Also Barnacules Nerdgasm once in a while but he isnt a dedicated printing channel

Level1Techs maybe soon eventually?!? that’d be great

You got a recommendation for people with absolutely no experience?


You got a recommendation for POOR people with absolutely no experience?

You got a recommendation for someone with a reasonable amount of technical knowhow and looking for top end quality without destroying my wallet completely ?

Cool, now what if I want that but I’m poor people?

(watch all 6)

###I need to print something about the size of a cube made of E-ATX motherboards because reasons…

I’m a millionaire that doesn’t already have people to tell me what to do and I only want the ultimate turn key option.

I want the high end of consumer SLA

Any other SLA’s?

What about these super cheap kits I see on Ebay, like the Anet A8?
I dont have any experience with them, I’ve heard good things. Use your Googlefu.

##I’m an engineer at an industrial CNC shop looking to take my manufacturing to the next level but for some reason i’m looking at a tech forum and not an actual CNC forum or a sales catalog and my boss is pressing me for recommendations.


Got a question I didnt cover? ask
Got a problem? ask, but know I may not have a proper answer without some mild googlefu
Got a print to show off? do so here :smile:


This will help with y axis rod alignment

I am more into designing objects to be printed by others, than to invest time and $ into printing my designs. If I could afford a good printer I would really like to get into 3D printing.

A great resource for 3D printing, for n00bs 2 Pros, is 3Dhubs. Their main purpose is establishing a worldwide network of places to get 3D printing services. There are a few Pro shops, but most of the network is local hobbyists. I usually was able to pick up my prints overnight and talk to the printer guy about the details of my job, like suggesting I make changes to the design file.

They have great reviews and guides about the recommended printers to buy. They have a good system of organizing the reviews into entry level, to best recommended, to 'cost is no object' Pro models, using various printing methods. When I was thinking of buying one, what I did was use 3Dhubs to find a local engineering student to print my jobs using the FDM Kossel printer I was considering. I have used Pro SLA printers at work, so I thought the FDM quality wasn't good or detailed enough for some of my designs. I then found a pro shop that used the $3,500 SLA Formlabs Form 1+.

A helpful tip from the guys in that shop -
Always paint your SLA 3D prints, because they are cured by light, natural light can make the print deteriorate. They also gave me a tour of the back of their "Lab" so that was very cool of them. Now I'm spoiled for the best. This is what they printed for me. The FDM Kossel guy said "NFW can I print that."

I took public domain CAD plans for a FDM Kossel printer and made the hundreds of parts into a 3D model. Because a 4" high, $50 model of a 3D printer is all I can afford.

I have also used Shapeways to print a few projects. A few were done by SLS using plastic powder, and for one they printed molds and cast my design in glazed ceramic.

I copied the wheels on my car to put on my R/C truck.

The Jetson's car was my first 3D printed design.

This ceramic tile is so beautiful. The only problem was the holes shrunk because glaze flowed in there.

For the really high end printing tools, sometimes Jay Leno's Garage has amazing videos. Even though he doesn't know how to use them, Jay can afford to pay others to do that and buy them the best tools available.


Quite the stack of dickies BBQ cups...

Thinking about a printer for some projects and tinkering. Want to print some parts that will be in the sun and I've been looking at UV and gasoline resistant materials. It seems nylon is OK but I'd also consider painting if the material can withstand the suns radient heat and not shrink or become brittle.
Any suggestions would be cool.
Watching intently...

1 Like

yay threads back

I did a super top secret 3D printing project that I can't show because my invention will earn me millions (eventually). It had to be food safe & waterproof, but most prints are not. What I did is put on latex gloves, mix up a bunch of epoxy and slather the print with the glue on my fingers. Think = rubbing on lotion into every nook and cranny to be soaked up as a thin skin. In my case I didn't want to glob the epoxy on too thick and lose the detailed engineering. Using an old toothbrush might have been another good way to spread the glue.

I have been using / testing my invention everyday in water for almost 2 years and it's still good. It does get slimy and gross and has to be cleaned often, but the final product will be injection molded not printed. I am always worried that it will break when I clean it but c'mon... 2 years in water is pretty damn good for something they said would never work.

I used clear epoxy, but if you use white marine epoxy it might be better for your outdoor project. Chill the epoxy and print before slathering, to slow the hardening reaction and give you more 'working' time. I don't know but there may be thinning agents one can add to the epoxy to make it more like paint. Ummm... Is there epoxy boat paint? I also think the epoxy shell strengthened the underlying print, like the fiberglass skin on a foam surfboard.

The prototype I painted (I took a lazy shortcut) didn't last long. It just kind of got weak and crumbled from the water damage.



Sources say polypropylene is not gasoline resistant.

Also epoxy hardens by heat. Boats for instance will show the biaxial fiberglass pattern over extended sun exposure due to shrinkage in the resin and gelcoat. (Project is for a boat btw)

Then I don't have anything

I'm not trying to print gas tanks...


TL;DR, my Printrbot Simple is warped in one corner of the bed. Just so happens to be the corner that the printer doesn't use for leveling too.

Aside from that 3D printing is nifty.

1 Like

"So they sent me Gummy Bears in my 3D printer box Ayyy?"


funny thing is, I didnt get bears, I got this

aint even mad

1 Like

There's a Chinese Prusa i3 clone on Gearbest for $184...

Alternatively, the same printer is on Massdrop for $250 if one doesn't trust Gearbest...

From what I understand some things should be upgraded on those however.

Built last night, grand total probably 10 hours. Gonna fire it up when I get home from work.

That tan y axis brace is a major hassle preventer, didn't have to adjust the square-ness of the machine...yet


@Nuggetninja now that it's together...That z brace is a total waste of time

You Just noticed?

Also it doesn't need to be perfectly square on the y axis.

Also I would take that plastic cover off the nob.

Make a different one or just leave it bare?

I just leave it bare. I find it much easier to use.

1 Like