How to Properly Maintain Your 3D Printing Machine?


When the topic of conversation shifts into the finicky piece of hardware, nothing can be fussier than how a 3D printing machine is. Who in the right frame of mind will want to deal with a breakdown or be put to a halt by a filament problem when he is in the middle of doing his own 3D printed masterpiece.  Much like any other appliance or highly- sensitive office equipment, you need to provide to your 3D printer the proper care it needs, not just to optimize its service life but to also get the most value out of it. 

The truth about 3D printers is that the quality of their manufacture is not something that we would want them to be in. In short, they are made in a tacky fashion and most probably even some of the well-known brands are making use of second-rate components in manufacturing their product offerings. This is the underlying reason why most owners of 3D printers are finding themselves

It is at this point that maintenance for 3D printer comes in. For them to get the costs of its hardware components down, although we are not generalizing that all manufacturers are into this kind of practice but some are. Some manufacturing firms have tried to get away with their using inferior quality components. The ones who are on the losing end here are the owners who were led to go beyond than just giving their piece of equipment the normal maintenance and modding routine, compared to how you’d normally do on any standard household appliance. 

The quality of these machines is coming up. But as of the moment, things are like that. It is what it is, but here are some valuable tips that will help you get around this problem.  

Have Your 3D Printer Regularly Lubricated

Much like how your car engine works. Your 3D printing machine comes with lots of lots of metal moving parts. If you don’t keep the linear bearings and rods for seizing up, it can lead to sudden stoppages.  But you’re not supposed to use motor oil, though. What works well here? Sewing machine oil. You only need to have a drop on the rails, and that is supposed to do the trick.  

Your Filament Nozzle Should be Cleaned 

The quality of your 3D printing can be adversely impacted by clogging on the filament nozzle. Even if it is just a tiny clog, it tends to foul up your design, or it could render your piece to have weaker structural integrity as to how it otherwise might be.  If you will notice there is just a curve while the filament is coming down from the nozzle, you should take it as a sign that you have got a problem.  

It is such a relief to know that this is straightforward maintenance for your 3D printing machine. You can move your nozzle and take it out from your 3D printer.  To carry this out, you may need to have on hand a razor blade, some tape, a glass jar, and some acetone. You may get this from your hardware store.  

Get Your Extruder Gear Clean

This part here comes with a risk. Debris build-up can sabotage this after several printing jobs has been carried out. Initially, you need to unscrew your printer’s extruder and out from it.  Remove the extruder cover afterward. Hex keys may come in handy here so you can remove the screws that secure the fan in place. Concerning the unit model that you have, you may need to dismantle some more just so you can reach the extruder. Once you reached it, with the help of any sharp tool you can use, you need to scrape the gunk off of it. 

 Update the Firmware of Your 3D Printer

3D printers work in much the same way as your desktop computer. It is of paramount importance that you see to it that its firmware is always up to date all the time. Provided that you are having your hardware well-maintained and your machine became buggy, you have a good chance that other users may have already identified what the problem is and you can resolve it by downloading an update.  

Water Jet Cutting versus Laser Jet Cutting and Plasma Cutting

Although water jet cutting, plasma cutting, and laserjet cutting are all high-tech and highly accurate methods of metal sheet fabrication, it would benefit us most to know which among these three is the most indispensable and can provide the most required industry applications. The looming question here is, is it laser, plasma, or waterjet cutting machine that you need for your project? 

Almost everyone who is involved in the metal fabrication industry, at one point in time, has come across this question. But then again, we can’t say that there is a definitive answer to this. Simply because it will take into account what you value most. We intend to find a solution to this dilemma by breaking down the technical and economic aspects of these 3 metal cutting solutions.  

High Definition Plasma Cutting

A plasma jet cutter will make use of an electrically-conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source to its plasma cutting torch, then going into the material that is being cut. Highly celebrated for its ability to cut through a variety of metals, plasma cutting method is best described as among the most cost-effective among the three options as indicated below: 

Advantages

  • Ability to cut through a wide array of metals
  • Rapid cutting speeds
  • Delivers cutting accuracies to 0.008” scale
  • Economical
  • Impressive hole quality

Disadvantages 

  • Less accuracy compared to laser and water jet cutting
  • Requires changing of the cutting edge every time you need to deal with different materials.
  • Creates foul-smelling fumes during the cutting process
  • Poor edge quality on a few select materials
  • Laser Cutting

As the name itself suggests, in the laser cutting method, the medium for cutting through a material is a laser beam. Compared to plasma cutting, laser method offers greater cutting precision and at the same time, it is more cost-effective because it requires fewer amounts of energy, most especially when cutting through steel and aluminum. 

Advantages of laser cutting

  • Fast cutting  speed
  • Reliable
  • Efficient job processing
  • Cuts out intricate shapes at faster speeds, at the same time it eliminates the need for tooling.
  • Capable of cutting through a wide variety of materials with different levels of thicknesses
  • Capable of cutting through narrow widths
  • Can cut both nonmetals and metals

Disadvantages 

  • May come as an expensive cutting method. 
  • Power hog
  • Requires high levels of accuracy to place a target for lasers
  • Not applicable to reflexive metals

Water Jet Cutting

When it comes to waterjet cutting, it is your call if you want to use high-pressure water mixed with an abrasive material. Typically used for this purpose is granite powder. Or if you want, depending on the material you are utilizing for your project, you can just have plain but high-pressured water. 

Plain water jet cutting is used to cut through “soft” materials like wood, but when your project involves cutting through a tougher object such as steel you need to abrasive materials to the water. Here are some of the valid reasons why the use of waterjet cutting machine is more advantageous than other alternative material cutting methods.  

Advantages of Waterjet cutting

  • Capable of  cutting through virtually all kinds of material
  • The complete absence of heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the material adjacent to the cut  (this helps maintain its form)
  • Does not create hazardous waste
  • Minimal disposal costs
  • High level of accuracy and precision cutting
  • Capable of cutting through thick materials

Disadvantages of Waterjet cutting

  • The process is likely to generate abrasive dust which can get in the way in the movement of machine parts.
  • Takes a while to cut most metals
  • With a tendency to create noise, unless cutting work is carried out underwater
  • Abrasive materials are pretty expensive to purchase.

After delving deep into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these metal cutting methods, let us now carefully examine how they compare against each other.  

Cost

Concerning the purchasing cost, we qualify plasma cutting as the easiest on the budget while laserjet is certainly on the exorbitant  side. When it comes to the operating cost, taking into account the required materials that will be used for each machine, plasma cutting system would again fare the lowest price, which makes the use of waterjet cutting technology as the most expensive. 

Speed of Operation

The cutting speeds by which these metal cutting methods come in is vital in determining their production rate. It is completely normal for waterjet cutting machines to take some time to finish and get done with a particular cutting job, especially if the material itself is thick. So yes, waterjet cutting method is the slowest and followed by laserjet. When it comes to speed, the fastest metal cutting method is plasma.  

Cutting edge quality

You can easily determine a cutting machine’s level of precision by making a comparative analysis of the actual measurements of the resulting part to the programmed part size. On the premise that there is less heat distortion, we qualify waterjet cutting as most accurate and trailing behind this is laser cutting followed finally by plasma cutting. But it would be worth mentioning here also is that laserjet can have distortion on thick materials.