To successfully print a 3D design, you will need a few accessories to make it simpler. We have put together the ultimate guide to the tools you will need to get the job done.
3D Printing Tools
|Tool Kit A for 3D Printer|
|Miniature and Model Tool Starter Set|
|Titan Multipurpose Razor Scrapers – 2-Pc|
|3M ScotchBlue 2090 Painters Tape Sheets, 12" x 7.25" Rectangles (10 Sheets)|
|Octave Kapton Tape for 3D Printer Platform 6" x 100′|
Octave 3D Printer Tool Kit
The Octave 3D Printer Tool Kit consists of five cutting tools. Each tool has a unique blade shape to help with the removal of different blemishes on a part. These blades offer ergonomic handles and sharp tool tips; however users have reported needing to sharpen the blades. At only $20 at the time of writing ($4 per tool), the tool kit is a fair deal.
Miniature and Model Tool Starter Set
The Miniature and Model Tool Starter Set consists of an exact-o knife, a flat file, a pair of clippers, a cutting board, as well as spare blades for the knife. The clippers are great for removing strings of plastic off a part. The knife and file are good for removing the same bumps and blemishes from parts as the Octave tool kit. The file can also be used to widen holes that are too small or file down a side of a part that is too large. The cutting board is marked to help you measure small parts and angles, and is a great surface to use the knife on. This kit is also great for use with plastic models as the name implies, and so can find use outside of your 3D printing. At the time of writing this kit goes for $55, however the quality and diversity of tools is offers should be worth the price.
Titan Multipurpose Razor Scrapers
This set of two razors is exactly what you need to remove that stubborn part from the print bed. Both scrapers use the same style of blade, but they offer two different ergonomic handles: short and long. If you use tape on your print bed these scarpers will help remove the tape from the bed and then from the part. If you are using aluminum or glass they should allow you to remove the part directly, just be careful not to scratch the bed while you do so. The scrapers can also be used to remove bumps from flatter surfaces of the parts, and can be used around your home wherever you may need to scrape something. As of the writing of this article this set of two is normally $40 but is on sale for $17; not a bad deal at all for such versatile tools.
Blue Tape Sheets
Blue painter’s tape is one of the most widely used bed surfaces because PLA plastic sticks to it so well. It is also easy to remove from the printer’s bed and cheap to replace. One of the biggest hassles of using this tape is that if you buy it in rolls you have to apply several strips to cover your entire bed and make sure that they don’t overlap and make your print surface uneven. That is where these sheets come in. Sized for the Makerbot Replicator 2 at 12” x 7.25” (304.8 x 184.15 mm), these sheets are large enough to fit on most printers and can easily be cut to fit on smaller ones (using a knife from one of the above kits, perhaps). The only issue you may find with this sheet is that using it with a heated bed can cause it to peel up and allow your parts to warp. For PLA however, this is the best surface you can print on.
Kapton tape is somewhere between blue tape and a glass bed when it comes to print surfaces. Originally created for high-temperature applications, kapton tape works extremely well in 3D printing, especially with heated beds. It’s glossy finish also provides a wonderful finish to the bottom of your part. Kapton is best with ABS plastic, which requires the heated bed to avoid warping. Acetone and other bed-sticking solutions can be used on top of it as well, increasing your part’s adhesion. This 6” x 100’ (125.4mm x 30.48m) roll provides plenty of tape to cover any sized bed at a width that means you won’t have to apply several strips. Check out a detailed article on kapton vs blue tape.
3D Printer Material
You will also need different filaments like PLA and ABS depending on the printer that you purchased. We have reviewed the best below:
|Hatchbox 1.75mm Black PLA 3D Printer Filament|
|SainSmart 1.75mm imported PLA Filament|
Hatchbox PLA (Black)
As mentioned with their ABS filament, Hatchbox provides some of the best filament on Amazon. This kilogram spool of PLA is only a dollar more epensive than it’s ABS equivalent and is great for any PLA part you may wish to print. Like their ABS Hatchbox offers several colors for their PLA filaments as well.
Sainsmart PLA (Flourescein Red)
Sainsmart is not the most reliable manufacturer out there. Success with their products is hit and miss, some products work brilliantly while others do not. Their PLA is more expensive than Hatchbox at the time of writing, normally $60 per kilogram but on sale for $30 per kilogram. They do offer cheaper colors, and white is currently listed at the same price as Hatchbox filaments.
|HATCHBOX 1.75mm Black ABS 3D Printer Filament|
|1.75mm ABS Filament 4 Spool Bundle|
|Octave 1.75mm Natural ABS Filament|
Hatchbox ABS (Black)
Hatchbox is one of the best suppliers of plastic on amazon. They vacuum seal their plastic, ship it on a spool, and offer it at a great rate of around $22 per kilogram. This black ABS filament (1.75mm) is great for any ABS part you may want to print. Hatchbox also offers several different colors of their plastic. Unfortunately for those who use 3mm plastic, Hatchbox appears to be discontinuing all of their 3mm filaments.
Octave Natural ABS
Octave’s ABS kilogram spool is priced a bit higher than Hatchbox’s, it also is manufactured to a wider tolerance than Hatchbox (Hatchbox guarantees +/- .05 mm accuracy while Octave only guarantees +/-.10mm) Users generally report excellent prints however, and Octave does offer several colors to choose from.
Octave ABS 4 Kg Bundle
Octave also offers a bundle of four colors of their ABS filament. Each color comes on its own spool and the bundle is slightly cheaper than if you bought all four colors (black, white, red, and green) separately. Users do not report any issues with this bundle, so the quality is good.
|3D Printer 1.75mm Conductive Black ABS Filament|
Zen Conductive ABS
Zen’s conductive ABS is brilliant but the name is a bit misleading. The filament works with any ABS printer and is infused with carbon to give it conductive properties. It cannot, however, be used to replace copper wires in a circuit as the resistance of the filament is approximately 10,000 Ohms per centimeter. Zen suggests using this specialty filaments in applications such as capacitive circuits, anti-static parts, electromagnetic screening and other creative ideas. Print-wise the plastic is okay, depending on how well your printer handles ABS you may not get structurally sound parts, but if you are using this filament that is not what you need anyways. One user wisely suggests using a dedicated nozzle for this filament, as the carbon it is infused with will build up on the nozzle and discolor other plastics you send through it later.