Do not associate 3D printing for things like printing a picture( from your DSLR camera, spy cams, dash cam, or printing an architectural landscape( from a Revit 3D design software application and stuffs like that). In 3D printing area, people say, "if you can draw it, you can make it". People say many items can be made with a 3D printer; and honestly, professional 3D printers are made to be the only tool to print out and form complicated objects; though they are not yet affordable for the common family
What is 3D printing? 3D printing also known as rapid prototyping fabrication or additive manufacturing is a prototyping process whereby a real object is created from a 3D design; the digital 3D-model is saved in a STL (Stereo-lithography) format and then sent to a 3D printer, so that the 3D printer can now print the design, layer by layer to form a real object. 3D printing involves the use of many different materials such as ABS plastic, PLA (Polylactic acid), stereo-lithography materials such as Acrylic resins and photopolymers wax.
If you cannot buy 3D Printer parts from your vendor directly, then ensure you are getting the correct parts for your printer from any source you chose. If you have any concern, be sure to compare the new spare part to the matching existing parts. In cases where the new spare is somewhat different and from a different supplier, try to install the new part and test it, then put back the original part back in - when you confirm the replacement is compatible. Another factor to consider is the cost of spare parts. Some are expensive; therefore, you need to balance the cost of the spare with the availability and time to get the part, to decide in deliberating if you should buy, or to have one on hand.
Spare parts necessary for 3D printing is grouped into two categories, namely; (1) General replacement parts and (2) printed parts. You should consider having these two categories of Spare parts on hand at any given time. If you have sufficient money to buy a complete set of parts, then do so, however if you are considering your budget on hand, endeavor to find a source for the spare and have a reliable dealer so that when you do need spares you can get them quickly.
On the other hand, if you’re using your printer for a business or cannot afford the downtime to wait for a spare, then you should invest in a set of spares as soon as your budget permits.
Replacement Spare Part
If you want to keep your printer running over the long term then prepare a budget for buying the below list of spares, but be aware that some 3D Printing parts may not apply to all printers, so be careful in selecting the appropriate ones that apply to your printer. Print Cooling Fans
Fans can wear out too early as you continue to use them frequently unless your printer is built with exceptionally high quality fans. It is important to note that cooling fan is designed to force air over the print to help PLA parts cool evenly in order to avoid layer adhesion defects. Therefore, if you plan to print with PLA, you should install print cooling fan; finding one can be challenging, because only few of the earlier 3D printers were designed with a fan in mind -in such a case, you can find a fan mount that mounts to the existing belt clamp bolts. Installing the fan is generally not difficult, with the only challenge of routing the wires along the same path as the hot end, extruder steeper motor, and thermostat. If you zip-tied everything nice and tight, it may mean taking all of that apart to route the wires, but be sure to mount the wires so that nothing touches moving parts. Also, you should take note that the print cooling fan is normally mounted to the electronics board.
Belts And Belt Tensioners
Belts are items that can easily get deteriorated by friction; so therefore, it is recommended you have a set once you have had to use a 3D printer. If your printer uses an adjustable belt tensioner, be sure to loosen the adjuster completely before setting the tension, and when you replace the belt, try to loosen the blot completely before setting the tension. The last step in the process of replacing a belt is tensioning it properly. Also note that proper tensioning should be such that you cannot pull the belt away from the drive pulley or about one half inch of up/down movement in the centre.
The hot end nozzle is an item that many people have as a spare so that they can change it when it gets clogged. The thing is that you can clean the most stubborn clogs, nevertheless; having at least one spare will help you keep your printer running should in case you’re faced with a clog that cannot be cleared with the cold pull method. However, before installing a nozzle, you should clean it thoroughly with a wire brush. If you print with ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), and indeed ABS was the filament you used last and you don’t want to replace the nozzle right away, you should consider soaking the nozzle in acetone for about an hour, and note that acetone should be enough to completely submerge the nozzle and such container used for submerging should be safe for use. After the submerging, this will completely remove any stray bits of plastic that the previous steps missed. However, if you have any concerns about performing this procedure, you can always take the easier route by simply replacing the nozzle.
The Stepper Motor is another 3D Printer part that can wear out easily. If you want a complete spare part supply, i recommended having one at hand. However you don’t need a complete set unless your printer uses different sizes for each axis.
Stepper Driver These boards are vulnerable to ESD (Electrostatic Discharge), and are conventionally known to fail on occasions. If you have a RepRap printer or a printer that has separate stepper drivers, it is advisable to have at least one spare.
They are simple switches that generally have a long life; however, if the endstop is subjected to axis crashes – where the axis runs to an endstop violently, you could damage the endstop, hence; given its role, you should have one as a spare.
Commercial and professional grade printers generally have proprietary electronics boards that are usually very expensive. If your printer uses one of the more popular general options, and you must rely on your printer, you should have a spare to avoid a lengthy downtime period.
You should consider having a spare build plate to allow you to swap out the build plate when the print surface needs cleaning or if you want to switch from one print surface to another.
3D Printed Parts
Some of these are applicable to most 3D printers, take your time to examine your printer and locate any similar part to determine if you can print the part or you must buy it from your vendor.
They are one of the most fragile parts, breakage can occur from the normal shaking of the printer especially if the rods they support are over tightened. To avoid any form of irritation, print a set of four to have on hand. Most will print quickly though.
Often times, older designs of 3D Printers use belt clamps that can slip away. The likely solution is to tighten them down, but this may acts as a tendency to damage the clamps. If you will need to tighten your belt clamps more than once, make an effort to print an extra set or look for an improved version and replace the existing clamp with it.
They are sometimes tough to print at times, because they have to be printed with zero tolerance to lifting or distortion. Thus, printing gears is an excellent way to perfect your technique for eliminating lift.
End stop Holders
They sometimes don’t help matters when it comes to printed parts, because they mostly appear to be fragile; which doesn’t help. If your printer uses the same holder for all axes, just print one or you can as well print a set.
Extruder Idler Mount
The extruder idler mount also referred to as a door; can fail over time due to stress. Other extruders may not have this problem, but like gears, printing a complete extruder body is a good way to practice and modify your printer. However, since some extruder idler mount can easily break, you may want to print several spares in case your backup breaks when printing a replacement.
X Ends are evidently known to break from a small amount of flex. It is mandatory to have a set of these parts also. So that’s it, the need for these parts mentioned here may vary from user to user, but basically; they are averagely the most parts that needs replacements or spare from time to time.
Guest writer Junaid Ali Qureshi is an ecommerce entrepreneur with a passion for tech and marketing. Some of his current ventures include Elabelz.com, Progos Tech, Titan Tech and Smart Marketing.