Musings and Experiments on the Art and Science of 3D Printing


Tools of the Trade

By SublimeLayers Friday, October 21, 2016

I thought folks might enjoy a photo and description of the tools I use before, during and after printing. From left to right:

A 2" x 5" piece of leather. I use this before every print to polish the tip of the nozzle. The back side is suede-like and I'll use that to remove blobs of melted filament. Then a couple of quick swipes against the smooth side, and the nozzle is nicely polished. This minimizes filament sticking to it, which minimizes stringing and bad top surface finish. I wrote more about this elsewhere on SublimeLayers.

A SeeMeCNC spatula (I have 5 of them so one is almost always near by) to remove parts and clean the bed surface. I've modified mine, I bevel one side of the rounded edge so it can easily insert under the base of a print. The spatula is about .7mm thick, so what is that going to do to a print with .2mm layers? Exactly, smash it. So bevel one use with 600 grit sandpaper. I ALWAYS bevel the face that the eye logo is on, that way when I pick the spatula up, I just make sure the eyes are looking at me and that insures the bevel is in the correct orientation to do its job! I use the long edge to scrape off stuck filament from my PEI surfaces.

A pair of "normally closed" tweezers. I use these to snip blobs of filament from the nozzle tip. Even as a print starts and the nozzle descends to that magical X=Y=Z=0 spot on the bed, sometimes the flexing of the Bowden will force a little ooze out. So, tweezers at the ready, I simple squeeze them to open, grab the nozzle tip and let them close under their own power. It takes 32 seconds of practice to master this.

A 6" x 2" x 1" aluminum block. Just because! Actually, I use it for a couple of things. Some of my thin fly fishing reel parts come off the bed a little soft. I press them against this block to simultaneously flatten that surface and cool it off. I also use this thing like a happier to tap the back of my spatula for parts that are "aggressively" stuck to my bed. I intend to cut the wooden handle off square so I'm not hitting the point. There are other uses for this block, yes many other uses...

A sharp (quality) pair of wire cutters. I use these to snip filament in preparation for feeding through the extruder.

Links to Tools
SeeMeCNC Spatula
Aven 18423 Self Locking Tweezers
Ace Hardware Diagonal Pliers
Leather - but any old piece of scrap leather from a purse, shoes, belt, coat or upholstery will do
6" x 2" x 1" aluminum block 

2 comments to ''Tools of the Trade"

  1. Links to all these tools would be great!

  2. Martin - Done! See at the bottom of the post, I added a list of links.