Unless you are under age 20, there are probably things you know now that you wish you knew growing up. Even on hacker projects, it isn’t unusual to do better on your second whatchamacallit than on your first one. After all, you learn something each time and apply it to subsequent builds.
[James Lewis] (sometimes known as the [Bald Engineer]) has spent a couple of years with a 3D printer. He says that as of March this year, he had used the machine for about 75 hours. Since then his usage went up to 300 hours because he’s finally learned his lessons about how to get good prints.
If you are experienced, you might not be surprised at the first tip: level the bed. Don’t let that fool you, though. [James] has some good tips on advanced bed materials and print filament, too.
One of the most interesting tips is to use Simplify3D as a slicer. [James found the output quality from models sliced with this $150 product was far superior to that from the MakerBot software he’d been using. We wonder if Cura or Slic3r could produce similar results, but based on the pictures (see above), [James] is right about the default settings for the two slicers he tried. The two objects on the left were done with the stock slicer while the object on the right was with Simplify3D.
We had to wonder if the default speeds on the MakerBot slicer were fast or there was some other simple explanation for the quality difference. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for the software “just working” with no tweaking even if it does cost $150.
If you are interested in learning more about Simplify3D, have a look at the video below (and you might find this forum post informative). We’ve talked about a lot of 3D printing tips before. One that [James] missed is to ensure your extrusion rate is correct. We’ve looked at exotic print materials, too.