EDUCATION

The Importance of Proper 3D Printer Maintenance

3D printer maintenance
3D printer maintenance
Above: ZMorph Multitool 3D Printer/Image Source: Unsplash

Have you ever wondered whether how to conduct your 3D printer maintenance? How often to do the maintenance and what should we actually do in the maintenance activity? It is a well-known fact that all equipment’s need maintenance.

Do you remember the days when mobile phones were the size of bricks and your television would’ve made an extremely effective barricade? The modern trend is for everyday consumables to become increasingly miniaturised, and in turn, this requires components to become lighter and smaller too. With the rapid evolution of the 3D printing industry, innovation is increasingly reliant on the efficient use of 3D printers – which means it is important to know how to assess and maintain equipment and keep it in good working order. 

Everyday 3D Printer Maintenance

Every 3D printer is different, but they all have parts in common – and making sure you maintain your 3D printer on a daily basis will help avoid costly repairs later down the line. Most will come with a kit which contains a set of tools and various replacement parts that can be used for minor adjustments, and a manual which explains how to assess your 3D printer after each use to ensure it can continue to print perfectly. As a general rule, make sure you check for any debris and remove it, vacuum out your build chamber, clean the filter and door, inspect the tip wipe assembly and shrouds, and empty the purge container. 

To carry out 3D printer maintenance tasks effectively, make sure you have the correct equipment on hand. Small wire brushes, a set of screwdrivers (usually of the hex key type), isopropyl alcohol, wrenches and needle nose pliers, and a bottle of PTFE synthetic oil will all be required to properly assess, dismantle, clean and adjust ready for the next 3D print. For harder to see areas, a flashlight may be helpful, and for really difficult to reach or inaccessible areas, consider investing in a videoscope. 

The Advantages of Videoscopes

Videoscopes – sometimes known as video borescopes – use optics to give you a direct view of the internal or difficult to reach parts of your 3D printer, using digital technology. Traditional borescopes use a series of optical lenses to transmit the image at the end of the borescope to the eyepiece of the operator. With advances in technology, the videoscope was created to refine the process, with a tiny medical grade camera providing image capture, illuminated by a number of LEDs, and operated by way of an optical camera lens and image sensor. For the purposes of assessing a 3D printer, a portable videoscope is perfect for the job. 

Assessment of Major Printing Problems

In addition to basic daily 3D printer maintenance checks, it’s recommended to carry out in-depth maintenance at least every 1500 printing hours. This requires more than just cleaning and emptying, and includes complete disassembly of the extruder and visual examination of the filament wheel, checks of all belts and screws (and replacement if required), and oiling of all rods to ensure they function smoothly. Carrying out cold pulls is also recommended. This involves the heating of the nozzle, insertion of the filament, and then cooling of the nozzle. Once the heat has reduced to 100 Celsius, the filament can be pulled through the nozzle, bringing with it any debris and clogs as it goes. 

Regular 3D printer maintenance will not only help deliver flaw free prints every time you use your 3D printer, but will also help extend the life of your machine. A little bit of attention every day will go a long way to helping you save money and time in the future.


About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.

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