Getting a FDM Printer - but what else do I need

richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi

So eventually after prevaricating long enough, I'm going to order an FDM printer this week. As I said exhaustively it's going to be a Qidi X-Plus, mainly because it's enclosed, and the house I live in isn't ... but also to some extent it's plug and print, and at this point in my life, I'd rather avoid the hobby within the hobby within the hobby. Eventually I plan to fit Raspberry Pi/Octoprint to the machine, but I can live without that to start with, and again to start with, it will sit on my desk in the study ... eventually it will go into an unused bedroom. The printer comes with two extruders, a "normal" one and a "hot" one for ABS, Carbon Fiber Filled Nylon.

As this is my first 3D printer of any sort - and I'd based all my previous research on getting a resin printer (which I am in April 2022 ... assuming the boat makes it), I don't have a clue about which filament to get, and what else I might need to order at the time. Hopefully this is where you lot come in...

So what do I want to use it for?

First off are jobs around the house: I have a number of extendable curtain rods where the plastic bit between the 2 rods has broken or otherwise gone missing, making pulling the curtains a pain. I'd like to make new "plastic bits" for those; I have a roman blind where the clips have broken (I have one left to make a 3D model from), so I'd like to make some of those (although I suspect the resin printer might be a better bet); I've some IKEA dinning room chairs where the screw that holds the legs to the frame goes through a plastic half moon "thing" to spread the load - well, you've guessed it, some of those have broke, so I'd like to print some of those as well. Some inserts in a curtain rod holder - where the rod holder is designed for inch diameter rod, but the rod I have is half inch... stuff like that.

For the garden, I'd like to make a graduated dibber (one in imperial, and one in metric); a sweet pea seed pusher (although this would be for next year); and a miniature "runner bean ring" to hold sticks to support some miniature sweet peas that are a gift for Christmas.

I'd also like to make some storage inserts for some rather flexible rulers so they can sit in a IKEA or Really Useful box, without fear of bending the rules, and so I don't have to keep taking it apart; and some general storage inserts for track, roller, back-2-back gauges and the like.

And of course model railway stuff, so the crossing vee jigs, and switch jigs ... probably also sleeper spacing jigs, and the like.

So what kind of filament should I get? Do I care about a brand? PLA, PLA+, PETG, ABS? I'd like to try ABS and Carbon Fiber Nylon, but only really because I can I suppose, not sure if any of the above needs it.

And anything else I should get at the time? A filament dryer? something for getting the prints off the bed (or would just a paint scrapper from Wilko do?). Something to stick the prints to the bed (3DLAC)... The list seems endless!

Anything else to help a newbie out would be greatly appreciated.

Richard.
 
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Martin Wynne

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So what kind of filament should I get? Do I care about a brand? PLA, PLA+, PETG, ABS? I'd like to try ABS and Carbon Fiber Nylon, but only really because I can I suppose, not sure if any of the above needs it.

And anything else I should get at the time? A filament dryer? something for getting the prints off the bed (or would just a paint scrapper from Wilko do?). Something to stick the prints to the bed (3DLAC)... The list seems endless!
@richard_t

Hi Richard,

Looking at the specs for the Qidi, I think it will be you telling us. :)

For filament, I suggest using toughened PLA-PLUS for the household items, rail filing jigs, etc. The eSUN brand seems well regarded, this is the one I use:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FQ75QG2

It is noticeably tougher than ordinary PLA, such as the stuff which will likely be supplied with the printer. In fact the filament which came with my printer is very poor quality.

But PLA is not weatherproof, so for your garden projects you will likely need something else, such as ABS.

Also there is no convenient solvent for PLA, whereas ABS can be glued using model solvents such as butanone. So for modelling projects you might prefer ABS.

For working parts of machinery -- gears, cams, sliders, etc., the usual choice is Nylon.

All the polymers tend to absorb moisture from the atmosphere, which degrades print quality. They come sealed in shrink-wrap with silica gel, but once opened need to be kept in a warm dry place between use. Whether you need an actual dryer is debateable.

It's very likely that some tools such as scrapers, etc., will be supplied with the printer. The best type of scraper is a window scraper from the pound shop. Basically a Stanley-type knife blade in a flat holder.

For sticking to the bed I use an ordinary cheapo glu-stick:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000SHPWMQ

edit: see below: https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.p...printer-but-what-else-do-i-need.337/post-3488

It will last forever -- just a couple of dabs, and then smear it out to a thin film over the bed using a damp sponge.

The glass bed on my machine is removable from the machine, so to extract the finished part from it I simply put it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes while it is still hot. The combination of water dissolving the glue, and differential thermal contraction between the part and the glass soon frees it, assisted if necessary by some gentle prising at a corner with the scraper. Then a quick blast with a hair-dryer to dry off the finished part.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi Martin

Thank you so much for your reply, and all the info - it really is appreciated.

Given the amount of condensation I have to vacuum off the windows each morning now the weather has changed, I do wonder if a drying chamber might be a good idea. I notice the filaments and all that are currently on offer...

Again, many thanks, and I'll report progress back here.

Richard.
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi

Ordered printer and a stupidly large selection of filament - last Tuesday just after this last post; the printer arrived by 9.00am Wednesday and the filament on Thursday (was estimated to arrive on Friday). Unfortunately I've picked up an infection, and I'm not taking to the antibiotics very well, so as I suspected it's sitting in it's box (next to Mylo's crate!). Today is the first day I've felt vaguely human again :-( December is a busy month for me as well, and I'm working over Christmas and New Year (on support), but I'll try to unbox and have a "play" ... errr learning experience... obv. I'll be back with more questions when I do.

Again, many thanks for your help.
 
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Martin Wynne

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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi

Feeling a bit better comes and goes - still, for a nearly 6 month old puppy, Mylo is remarkably grown up - I was worried how I was going to cope with him when I was barely able to look after myself; but I needn't of worried.

Thanks for the pointers on ASA, and the other links, - I'd not ordered any, but have now a black reel and white reel - Amazon (or at least when I searched), didn't seem to have any other colours (dark green would have been good for one part). The white I'll use for my various dibbers so I have a chance of finding them if I drop them!

Just for info I've ordered PLA+, ABS, PETG and Carbon Fibre re-enforced Nylon (by far the most expensive) - just to try them all, and see what I get on with the best.

(I wonder what Amazon thinks of my ordering, today I have some lens protection filters coming (appt. you don't need Skylight 1B/UV filters anymore), and Anchovy Essence in the same package - hopefully the essence is well packaged!)

Whilst ordering the ASA I might have accidently ordered a 3018 based CNC router/laser engraver ... oops ...
 
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Martin Wynne

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@richard_t

Hi Richard,

This video is a frenetic run through every filament polymer known to man (except Anchovy), and their printing requirements:




With so many different polymers to try you may want to get some purge filament. See the video.

you don't need Skylight 1B/UV filters any more

I think they are built into the digital camera sensor to protect it.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi

Thanks for that - next time I order something from Amazon I'll include the purge filament.

I suspect I'll be using PLA+ to start with - even for stuff for the garden ... until I get a little bit of confidence.

Keep the links coming though :D

Richard
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
So yes - long time no update but ever since I've had my Covid booster, I've felt tired in the afternoon with little will to do anything other than watch YouTube, or a DVD or read a book. (And yes I'm sure although I feel tired, it's a million times better than actually catching Covid without vaccines.)

But Amazon delivered both the printer and filaments really quickly, along with a 3080 pro CNC router and various upgrades. As I suspected, they are both still in their boxes around a month later ...

CNC router:

_D4_1142.JPG


But to be fair, Mylo hasn't made much of a start on the 3D printer either (the box is next to his crate...)

3D Printer:

_D4_1143.JPG


And Mylo, yesterday, looking unconcerned...

_D4_1121.JPG

All the best

Richard
 
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Martin Wynne

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Hi Richard,

Hope you are feeling better soon. All 3 jabs had almost no effect on me (apart from a sore arm), but from others I know I was lucky there. In a way I wish they had affected me -- at least I would know that they were working. :)

A bit puzzled that your CNC arrived in 4 boxes, mine (the Mostics brand) arrived all in one box. It still took a week or two before I got round to putting it together. Have you ordered any cutters? I've been meaning to try some downcut end mills for finishing the cut more cleanly, but they are quite a lot more expensive than the standard cutters so I haven't done anything about it yet.

Nice pic of Mylo -- what's your camera?

cheers,

Martin.
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
With my first AZ jab I felt very fluey the morning after, but nothing with the 2nd jab. I had a sore arm for a week after the booster (Moderna), and as I say, physically and mentally tired in the afternoons.

Ah the CNC is in one box, but also got the larger Y travel and bed (edit: to make it to a 3040 appt.), limit switches, and then some T-nuts and clamps for the table. The 3080 pro package I got came with a set of various cutters and a separate set of engravers. It also came with a 15W laser module - that's a little scary!

The camera is a Canon 5D Mk 4, and that photo of Mylo (nose should have been in focus as well), was taken with a 85mm lens.

Richard.
 
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Martin Wynne

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It also came with a 15W laser module - that's a little scary!

Hi Richard,

That's enough power to do real work.

The BIBO also came with a laser module, but I haven't got round to trying it yet. It's only 0.5W so not capable of much actual cutting, maybe paper and very thin card. It's described as for engraving. It was also described as a "free gift" with the 3D printer, which I suspect is a way of saying it's not covered by the guarantee. Fitting it means dismantling the extruder head so is no 5-minute task, but I really ought to try it just to see what if anything it can do.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Enjoy using Templot?
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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add
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For sticking to the bed I use an ordinary cheapo glu-stick:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000SHPWMQ

It will last forever -- just a couple of dabs, and then smear it out to a thin film over the bed using a damp sponge.
@richard_t

Hi Richard,

Just an update to that -- nothing stays the same for 5 minutes nowadays.

Pritt-Stik have upgraded their formula to a new eco-friendly version, which may work fine for its intended purpose, but is completely useless for sticking items to the bed of a 3D printer. I need to get the older type or clone from the pound shop while it is still available, or maybe this stuff from ebay:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/393771416444

edit: see below: https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.p...printer-but-what-else-do-i-need.337/post-3521

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Here are some of mine thoughts:

For better sticking on the print bed some people in the Netherlands use hair spray.
I just buy my abs and for sticking on the bed spray from aliexpress.
In my experience (and my needs)all those new and (in my eye's) overly priced filaments are not worth it.
I started with regular PLA and moved on to ABS.
In the mean time i have learned to calibrate my printer properly.
You can not calibrate the printer and fine tune the printer enough.
On thingyverse you will find enough models to calibrate your printer.(don't get lost over there).
Dont forget to store your ABS filament dry! just in a air tight container with some silica gel or a other dehumidifier salt.

Have a lot of fun with your 3d printer, your only limit are your fantasies.
For building programs i used and tried a lot of them, all the way up to Rhino, but 3d builder of windows itself is probably the simplest, best and jet the most underestimated program of them all.
A bit like Templot, you start with one sleeper and you can end up with your countries complete railway system.

Regarding Milo...just give him the box ;) :cool: Master has something new to play with, what about poor Milo.

With best regards Igor
 
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Martin Wynne

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For better sticking on the print bed some people in the Netherlands use hair spray.
@richard_t @Justme Igor

I tried hair spray some time ago, as widely recommended, but I couldn't get on with it. It didn't stick the part very well (to a glass build plate), and not being water-washable means messy cleaning up with solvent. Because of overspray it can't be applied in situ on the machine, so that means re-attaching the build plate to the machine while it is sticky. I found using a glue-stick is more effective and much easier to use and clean up.

It seems that the glue we need is PVP:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinylpyrrolidone

but almost every glue-stick manufacturer has changed from PVP to a "solvent-free" potato-starch based adhesive. Which loses all stickiness as the build plate warms up, and is useless for 3D printing.

Except these:

glue_stick.png
which unfortunately are available only in packs of 6:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08ZRXNH8D/

As usual the only way to find out if they work was to get some. I'm pleased to report that they work fine, just the same as my previous glue-stick before it got "borrowed". :)

At the rate of using it for 3D printing 6 sticks will last me a lifetime. Just a few small dabs on the build plate are needed, smeared out to a thin film with a damp sponge.

Using this stuff I can sand a timbering base, and scrub it under the tap, while it is still attached flat to the build plate. Then just a little persuasion with the window scraper frees it, and the plate can be rinsed clean and replaced on the machine for next time.

The next experiment will be to see if this glue can be used to glue resin-printed chairs into any FDM sockets which happen to be a bit loose. It could be applied into the socket with a cotton-bud or similar, possibly after thinning a fraction with water. Being water-based it has a long open working time on non-porous materials, and any excess is easily wiped away. Because of the fixed resolution of the stepper drives it is impossible to guarantee that every socket will be exactly the same size.

The same would apply to laser-cut and CNC-milled sockets, although there the water-based sanding sealer can be used as a penetrating adhesive.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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richard_t

Member
Location
nr Spalding
Hi All

So I found a spare hour this weekend to unbox my 3D printer, and to "adjust" the print bed (although not level it yet). In the bottom packaging was a glue stick!

Don't all get excited I haven't started printing yet (I'm a bit worried that it will suck all my time, and I've got a few other things on the go), but I did use it to prove a Malthouse loaf:

20220117_120324_small.jpg


Proving bread here during winter is a challenge - I have been using a pan of boiling water in an off oven technique to prove bread, but it's very messy - especially drying the proving bag. The above loaf looks a bit warty, but tasted fantastic!

All the best

Richard
 
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