It’s a new year and as Makers start to get back into the swing of things it is important to pause and make sure your equipment is ready to go. Doing proper and regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your printers creating the best prints possible. In this blog post we will take a look at what steps you should take to prepare your printers for a new year of printing.
1. Clean off any dirt, dust, and debris
It is likely that your 3D Printer encountered a bit of downtime, or even overtime, during the festive season of 2022. This means that a good clean of the printer is in order to help avoid possible issues later on. Debris can build up in important areas such as belts, extruder gears, fans, and Delrin wheels if your printer uses them. While this debris might not cause serious damage to your printer it can impact print quality. Another benefit of keeping your printer clean is the ability to proudly show it off in all its glory to friends, family, and other Makers.
2. Check the build plate
A good build plate can be the difference between a pile of spaghetti and the perfect print. Before starting a print, it is always a good idea do an inspection of the surface of the build plate. The reason for this is build plates can wear out or get damaged over time and cause frustrating print failures if not rectified. Giving your build plate a wipe down with isopropyl alcohol can help extend its life and help if you are struggling with first layer adhesion. If you use an adhesion aid such as tape or glue, then it might be time to remove and reapply it depending on how long it has been on the build surface. Damage can occur for a variety of reasons such as removing the print with a scraper or nozzle crashing into the bed. When the build plate is damaged it is best to replace it to ensure you can get the best prints possible. After cleaning or replacing your build plate we recommend relevelling to avoid any issues.
3. Check nozzle for wear and clogs
Another important part of your printer that should be kept in perfect condition is the nozzle. Issues with the nozzle directly translate into issues with print quality and often results in failures. Before you start your next print, it is a good chance to inspect your nozzle for excessive wear especially if you use more abrasive filaments. If you notice wear, then it is recommended to replace it before it starts to give issues. This is also a good opportunity to check the nozzle for clogs. An easy way to do this is to feed filament through the nozzle and check that it comes out in a clean and steady stream. If the filament curls right out of the nozzle or seems too thin, then you might have a partial clog. Partial or full clogs can be cleared in a variety of ways and we have a guide and a blog post that can help with nozzle care.
4. Check your filament
Maintenance doesn’t only apply to the 3D Printer itself but also the filament you use. Incorrectly stored filament cause issues with your printer and the print quality. Filament can be impacted by age, moisture, and dust, all of which will impact how well the filament performs while in use. Old filament can result in brittle brittleness and snapping of the filament during printing. Unfortunately, the only way to combat age is to use filament in a timely manner. Moisture is absorbed by filament over time and depending on the environment the filament is stored with some filaments being more susceptible than others. Storing your filament in airtight container with desiccant gel will help draw out the moisture. For peace of mind, you can also use a filament dryer to ensure the filament is nearly perfectly dry before us. Dusty filament can cause clogs and poor print quality but is a simple issue to fix. Store your filament in a dust free container. If your filament has gathered dust, then print one of the sponge holders you can find on sites such as Thingiverse and attach it to the filament before it reaches the extruder and it will help remove most of the dust. Just be sure to clean off the sponge regularly if your filament is often dusty. Download our guide on filament handling and storage for more information.
We hope this post has helped you get your 3D Printer ready for a new year of printing. Check out our blog post for a suggested maintenance schedule for both FDM and Resin 3D Printers. If you enjoyed this guide then check out our other blog posts, we have a growing collection of guides and project posts up right now. We also have other guides on our website. To keep up to date on everything DIYElectronics related such as new products, projects, and Maker news, check out our social media. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and website.
Graphic Designer | Photographer | Gamer and Twitch streamer.
I have a passion for design and a love of art. I am always eager to learn new things, be it 3D modeling/3D printing, copywriting or even cooking. Pretty chill guy who is always down for a braai with family and friends.