5 Free STL Editors + How to Edit STL Files

How do I edit STL files? That is something any 3D printer owner sooner or later wonders. After all: Ready-made STL files are fine. But what if an STL file you downloaded lacks some features, is damaged or you need only a part from it? That’s when you need an STL editor. We show you how to edit an STL file with 5 free STL editors: FreeCAD, SketchUp, Blender, Meshmixer and Meshlab.

Editing STL files can be done in two different types of modeling software:

  • On the one hand, there is CAD software (Computer Aided Design), which is designed for construction, exact measurements and solid modeling. These tools were not made for 3D printing in the first place. In CAD software, circles for example are “real” circles; in 3D printing – and in STL files for 3D printing – circles are represented as polygons. So CAD tools cannot show their full strength when editing STL files, nevertheless, they can be used for working with STL files. Three of the four tools we present in ths article are true CAD tools: FreeCAD, SketchUp and Blender.
  • On the other hand, there are mesh editing tools such as MeshMixer and MeshLab that are designed for modeling, animation, and objects represented by a 2D surface. That means: These objects have just a shell and no filling. This may cause paper-thin walls in 3D printing, which can result in troubles, if the object is not solidified (which, however, can easily be done in tools such as Meshmixer). In fact, mesh editors are excellent tools when it comes to editing STL files.

Free STL Editor #1: FreeCAD

FreeCAD is an open source and free to use CAD software. It offers many different tools for construction, like Drafts, Drawings and Design features. You can download FreeCAD for free from the FreeCAD project website. Simply select the correct version for your OS and install.

A serious limitation: FreeCAD has some problems with intercepting structures and may mess up the mesh, when it contains intercepting edges!

Step 1: Open STL file and convert it to solid model

  1. Open FreeCAD and create a new document by clicking on File > New.
  2. Click File > Import and select the object you want to modify. FreeCAD can open other mesh formats such as OBJ and AST as well.


3. Change your workbench to Part.

4. Select the imported object in the Model window.


5. Now click on Part > Create shape from mesh. This will split up the imported object into many small triangles. You can adjust the precision of tessellation, but 0.10 is perfectly fine for most objects. If the number gets smaller, it will take longer to convert the object.

6. You can now delete or hide the imported mesh. This will show you the shape of your imported object consisting of many triangles.


7. Click Advanced utility to create shapes and select Solid from shell. Now click on any triangle forming your imported object and then on Create. You will not notice anything because the shape is overlapping the solid. Click Close to finish.

8. Next, delete or hide the old shape. You now have a solid object of your mesh file ready for editing.

Step 2: Edit STL file

1.Switch your workbench to Part Design.

2. Click on any face you want to add or remove material, so it shines green.

3. Now click Create Sketch.


4. Create a shape you want to extrude or cut into using the tools for drawing a circle, rectangle or lines.

5. Click on Close to confirm the sketch. If you want to edit the sketch, double-click it in the model tree.


6. Now select a feature you want to apply. You can use the Pad tool to extrude or the Pocket tool to cut elements.

Step 3: Export as STL file again

To export your object as an STL file again, select the last feature in the model tree.  Then click on File> Export and selectMesh formats.

The pros and cons of using FreeCAD

When using FreeCAD as an STL editor you really notice its purpose. It is a CAD program to create exact and models for mechanical use not for modeling. This is great when you want to construct technical objects. Sculpting a model in FreeCAD is very difficult; as FreeCAD lacks a free move-around 3D view, sculpting is nearly impossible.

Free STL Editor #2: SketchUp

SketchUp – formerly Google SketchUp – is a full-blown 3D modeling software that is now owned by architectural company Trimble Buildings. SketchUp is available as a commercial version called SketchUp Pro and as the free SketchUp Make edition. By installing different plugins you can adjust SketchUp up to your personal preference. You can download the free SketchUpMake edition from their official website.

Step 1: Install the STL plugin in SketchUp

To import STL files in SketchUp Make you need to install a plugin first (this plugin is already installed in the Pro edition).

  1. Start SketchUp and click on Window > Extension Warehouse.
  2. Now log in with your Google account.
  3. Search for SketchUp STL. Select it and click install.

Step 2: Open STL file

When you have the plugin installed go to File > Import… and set the file type to STL files. Browse for the object you want to open and import it.

Step 3: Edit STL file

1.Use the Eraser to remove the edges of the triangles so you end up with a rectangle to extrude. You can also use thepencil or one of its shapes to create new sketches to extrude.

2. When you have created new sketches you can use the Push/Pull feature to extrude or cut through the model.


3. Use the Move tool to drag edges or vertices.

4. You can create a reference line by orbiting over a point or surface and then move to the actual point where you want to start or end.

Step 3: Export as STL file again

To export your model go to File > Export and select the  .stl file format.

The pros and cons of using SketchUp

SketchUp is easy to use, runs smoothly and has all the tools to create a 3D model. However, it is missing some key features of an STL editor for example for creating a solid object or for translating the triangle mesh of an STL file to squares which are easier to edit.

Free STL Editor #3: Blender

Blender is a another great free program to either create models for printing, games or video clips. It contains many useful tools for example various algorithms for smoothening or interpreting a surface. It is also very easy to import and prepare STL files for modelling. However it will take some time to getting used to Blender, and due to its huge amount of different tools and commands it can be quite obscure. It also requires a powerful PC to display some models, especially if you subdivide the model in many smaller tiles.

You can download the software from the Blender project website.

Step 1: Open STL file

1. Delete the cube by hovering with your mouse above it and pressing the Del button.


2. Click on File > Import > STL, browse for the file you want to open and import it.

Step 2: Edit STL file

1.Switch from Object to Edit mode. You can now see all the edges your model is made of.

2. Then hit Alt+L to select all elements so the model shines orange. You can also select individual points, edges or planes by right-clicking them.

3. To convert the triangles to rectangles use Alt+J.

4. You can now change the amount of tiles the model is made of by either searching for Subdivide or Un-Subdivide.

5. Use the 3 different selection options Vertexes, Edge or Face select to extrude, move or delete parts of the model.

6. Search for different shapes such as Add plane, Cube or Sphere to add them to your model.

7. The Extrude command extrudes an area.

8. Use the Boolean command to cut or merge one form with another.

Step 3: Export STL file

To export your object go to File > Export > .Stl.

The pros and cons of using Blender

Blender is a great STL editor, if you want to create high poly models. It offers many tools to sculpt and work out fine details in models. However, it takes a while to getting used to working with Blender and as already said: When having a high poly object, it will require a lot of computing power.

Free STL Editor #4: MeshMixer

MeshMixer is a free mesh editing program, very easy to edit STL files and also has a built-in slicer tool. This means you can send the edited model directly to your 3D printer to print it.

Step 1: Open STL file

1.To import an STL file simply click on Import and browse for your object.


2. Click on Edit > Make solid.

Step 2: Edit STL file

1. You can now use Select to mark parts of your model.


2. Press Del to remove marked tiles.

3. Use Meshmix to open different forms.

You can access more models by switching from basic forms to for example arms or legs. Drag and drop the object you want to insert. Use the different colored arrows to move or rotate to model. Use the little square in the middle of the arrows to scale the model.

  1. Click on Sculpt to either smoothen or extrude different regions of the model.

Step 3: Export as an STL file

To export your object go to File > Export and selcet the .Stl file format.

The pros and cons of using MeshMixer

MeshMixer is one of the best tools to edit your STL files. It takes all occurring problems like the paper-thin walls into account. Working with MeshMixer as an STL editor is easy and useful, if you just want to resize your model or change something.

Free STL Editor #5: MeshLab

MeshLab is a free open source program that allows you to view or merge, transform or repair STL, PLY, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS and many other file types as well as point clouds. You can download MeshLab for free from the Sourceforge project website.

Step 1: Open STL file

To open a supported mesh file go to File > Import Mesh and browse for your model.

Step 2: Edit STL file

MeshLab does not have the tools to create new vertices or objects. However, it is a great tool to combine two meshes of a 3D scan. You can also remove parts of the mesh and repair holes in the model.


How to merge two meshes:

  1. To combine two meshes load both models.
  2. Click on Show Layers. Select the models in the scene.
  3. To transform, rotate or scale an object, first select it in the Layer menu and then click on Manipulator Tools.
  4. You can now press T to select the Transform option, R to rotate the model and S to start scaling.
  5. The direction you are looking at the model determines the coordiate system you are working in. Simply drag and drop the arrows to move or scale the model in one direction. Turn the circle around the object in order to rotate it. When you want to rotate your view, press Escape, and when you have the desired view on the object press Escape again to continue transforming. Press Enter to confirm the placement.
  6. When you have put all the parts in place, right-click on any part of your combined mesh and click on Flatten Visible Layers. Check the first three boxes and click on Apply.

How to delete a section of a model:

  1. To delete a part of the mesh click on Select Face in a rectangular region.
  2. Then click Delete the Current Selected Face and Vertices.

How to repair your object or search for holes:

  1. Click on Fill Hole. You model has to be manifold for this option.
  2. A window will pop up and show you all the holes in the model. You can now select the holes you want to fill. They will shine green when selected. Click on Fill and then on Accept to finish.

Step 3: Export as STL file again

To export the model go to File > Export Mesh.

The pros and cons of using MeshLab

Even if MeshLab does not offer the option to create new objects, it is a great STL editor to combine or repair a mesh. Using MeshLab is a great and easy way to combine the mesh of a 3D scan or just to create new models by merging them.

via all3dp.

Troubleshooting Guide to 19 Common 3D Printing Problems|Part Two

Today we will continue with our topic on “troubleshooting guide to 19 common 3D printing problems”, and provide practicable solutions for you  3D printing hobbyists!

3D Printing Problems #10: Over-Extrusion


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

Over-extrusion means that the printer supplies more material than needed. This results in excess material on the outside of the model printed.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

Typically, the Extrusion multiplier or Flow setting in your slicing software is too high (see the section above)

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Over-Extrusion

  1. Extrusion multiplier. Open your slicer software and check that you have the correct Extrusion multiplier selected.
  2. Flow setting. If that all looks correct then decrease the Flow setting in your printer’s software.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Over-Extrusion

  • Check you have the right extrusion multiplier settings
  • Decrease the filament flow settings

3D Printing Problems #11: Shifting Layers


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The lower and top layers shift so that you get a stepping effect through the print. Usually it’s quite subtle, but these images shows a print with a more pronounced effect.

What’s Causing the 3D Printing Problem?

There’s a variety of reasons for shifting layers, and these can be as simple as someone knocking the printer during the print process! More involved shifting layer problems can be down to bent or misaligned rods, or even the nozzle catching on the print and causing a slight shift in position of the platform.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Shifting Layers

  1. Check that the printer is on a stable base. Place the printer on a stable base and in a location where it will avoid being knocked, pocked and generally fiddled with. Even a small nudge of the printer can shift the print base and cause issues.
  2. Check the print base is secure. Most 3D printers use some form of detachable print base. Although this is handy when it comes to removing prints, and of course avoids damage to the printer, it also means that over time clips and screws can work loose. Make sure that when you reinstall the print platform it’s clipped or bolted tightly in place to avoid any slip or movement.
  3. Watch out for warped upper layers. If you’re printing a high quality print upper layers can easily warp if cooled too quickly. As the layers warp they rise and can cause an obstruction to the nozzle as it moves, in most cases the print will release from the platform, but if it doesn’t the powerful stepper motors can push the print and platform around.  If your prints are suffering from warping in the upper layers try reducing the speed of the fans slightly.
  4. Printing too fast for your machine. It is possible to speed up the print times for your machine by increasing temperature and flow. However whilst this may result in the filament flowing in the correct quality the rest of the machine may struggle to keep up. If you hear a clicking during printing this could  be a sign that the printer is going to fast. If you do hear a click the first port of call is to check that the filament isn’t slipping, before you take a look at the actual printer speed. To adjust your printers speed open up your slicer software and change the print speed.
  5. Check the belts. If layers are still shifting then it’s time to check the belts. A quick check is to just go around all belts and pinch the two together. The tension in each belt should be the same, if not then you’ll need to adjust the belt position to even out the belt tension. Over time the rubber belts will stretch (You can often tell if they do as they’ll start to slip on the drive pulleys), if there is quite a bit of play in the belts then it’s time to replace them with new ones. Over tight belts can also be an issue but this is usually only a problem if you’ve built the machine yourself. Some printers such as the Prusa i3 have belt tensioning screws that enable you to easily adjust the belt tensions.
  6. Check the drive pulleys. These are the usually connected directly to a stepper motor or to one of the main rods that drives the print head. If you carefully rotate the pulley you’ll see a small grub screw. Hold onto the rod and taking hold of the attached belt and then tug the belt and try to force the pulley to turn. You should find that there is no slip between the pulley and stepper or rod, if there is tighten the grub screw and try again.
  7. Check the rods are clean and give them some oil. Over time debris can build up on the rods which means that at some points along their length they cause more friction than others, which in turn can affect the free movement of the head and again cause layer shifting. A quick wipe and re-oil of the rods usually solves the issue.
  8. Bent or misaligned rods. If you see the print head falter at certain points then it could be that one of the rods has become slightly bent. You can usually tell by switching off the machine so there’s no power going through the steppers and then move the print head through the X and Y axis. If you feel resistance then you know something is amiss. Start by seeing if the rods are aligned, if they are then remove the rods and roll them on a flat surface. If any are bent then it will be quite obvious.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Shifting Layers

  • Check that the printer is on a stable base.
  • Check the print base is secure.
  • Watch out for warped upper layers.
  • Printing too fast for your machine.
  • Check the belts.
  • Check the drive pulleys.
  • Check the rods are clean and give them some oil.
  • Bent or misaligned rods.

3D Printing Problems #12: Blocked Bowden Nozzle


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

You initiate a print job but whatever you try, nothing comes out of the nozzle. Extracting the filament and reinserting doesn’t work.

What’s Causing the 3D Printing Problem?

A small piece of filament has been left behind in the nozzle after changing spools, often because the filament has snapped off at the end. When the new filament is loaded, the piece of old filament that is left in the nozzle doesn’t allow the new filament to be pushed through.

Alternatively, a build up of molten plastic in the end of the nozzle has hardened and will need manual removal. Specialist, cheap or old filaments are a common cause.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Blocked Bowden Nozzle

  1. Unblock with a needle. If you’re lucky then unblocking can be a quick and easy process. Start by removing the filament. Then using the control panel select the “heat up nozzle” setting and increase to the melting point of the stuck filament. In the case of the Ultimaker 2 go to Maintenance > Heat Up nozzle. For PLA set the temperature to 220 C. Once the nozzle reaches the correct temperature, use a small pin to clear the hole (being careful not to burn your fingers). If your nozzle is 0.4mm then you need a pin that is smaller; an airbrush cleaning kit works perfectly. It’s also worth getting a brass cleaning brush to remove any filament build-up on and around the nozzle.
  2. Push old filament through. If you find that the nozzle is still blocked then you may be able to push the filament through with another bit of filament. Start by removing the filament as before and then remove the feeder tube from the print head. Heat up the hot end to 220 C for PLA and then using another piece of filament push this through from the top to try to force the stuck filament in the nozzle out. Usually if new filament hasn’t succeeded in unblocking then the extra pressure you can exert by hand might just do the job. However don’t push to hard as you’ll bend the horizontal printer rods.
    Once the end clears use a needle to push through the nozzle and a brush to clean any filament excess.
  3. Dismantle and rebuild the hotend. In extreme cases when the nozzle remains blocked, you’ll need to do a little surgery and dismantle the hot end. If you’ve never done this before then it’s a good idea to make notes and take photographs so you know where everything fits when you reassemble. Start by removing the filament, then check your printer’s manual to see exactly how to dismantle the hot end.

In the case of the Ultimaker 2, it’s all quite straightforward. At all times during this procedure be aware that the hot end will get hot so a pair of heat proof gloves is advised (e.g. welder’s gloves).

For the Ultimaker 2 move the print head to the centre of the printer. Undo the four screws on top of the print head and let the hot end and fans hang down.
Increase the temperature of the hot end to 220 C (For PLA) and wait for the hot end to reach temperature. Once the printer reaches the correct temperature switch off the power.

Holding onto the plastic fan housing use a pair of tweezers through the top of the nozzle to grab hold of the offending filament and extract.

Use a needle to push all the way through and then a brass cleaning brush to remove any excess filament.

Switch the printer off and leave to cool.

Once completely cool reassemble, switch on and load a new spool of filament.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Blocked Bowden Nozzle

  • Heat the nozzle and clean with a needle and brass cleaning brush
  • Remove the feeder tube and try pushing the filament through with another piece of filament
  • Dismantle the hot end and see if you can extract the filament blockage

3D Printing Problems #13: Snapped filament


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The filament spool still looks full, and when you check there appears to be filament in the feed tube, but nothing’s coming out of the nozzle. This is more of an issue with Bowden feed printers than direct feed as the filament is hidden so breakages aren’t always immediately obvious.

What’s Causing the 3D Printing Problem?

Caused by a number of issues but primarily old or cheap filament. Although the majority of filaments such as PLA and ABS do last a long time, if they’re kept in the wrong conditions such as in direct sun light then they can become brittle. Then once fed into the printer no amount of adjustment is going to help.

Another issue is filament diameter, and this can vary through manufacturer and batch. Sometimes if the idler tensioner is too tight then some filament that still has a good amount of life left in it can snap under the pressure.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Snapped Filament

  1. Remove the filament. The first thing to do is to remove the filament from the printer in the usual way. In the case of the Ultimaker select Maintenance and Change Material. As the filament will usually have snapped inside the tube you’ll need to remove the tube from both the extruder and hotend. Then heat the nozzle and pull out the filament.
  2. Try another filament. If after reloading the filament it happens again, use another filament to check to see if it’s not just the old brittle filament that should be disposed off.
  3. Loosen the idler tension. If the new filament snaps check that the idler tensioner isn’t too tight by loosening all the way. As the print starts tighten until there is no slippage of the filament.
  4. Check the nozzle. Check the nozzle isn’t blocked and give it a good clean.
  5. Check flow rate and temperature. If the problem continues check that the hotend is getting hot and to the correct temperature. Also check that the flow rate of the filament is at 100% and not higher.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Snapped Filament

  • Check the filament isn’t past its best
  • Check the filament diameter
  • Adjust the idler tension
  • Check that the hot end is clear and reaches the correct temperature
  • Set the flow rate to 100%

3D Printing Problems #14: Stripped filament


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

Stripped or slipping filament can happen at any point of the print process, and with any filament. The result is that no filament is extruded from the hot end bringing your print to an abrupt end.

What’s Causing the 3D Printing Problem?

Blockage, loose idler tensioner, wrong hot end temperature, these are just a few of the common causes, but all are usually easy to correct. The result of the problem is that the knurled nut or toothed gear in the extruder is unable to pull or push the filament through the printer. As the motor spins the small teeth on the gear that would usually grip and feed the filament through the system, instead wear it away until there is no longer any grip, and the gear and filament slip.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Stripped Filament

  1. Help feed the system. If the filament has just started to slip, you can usually tell by the noise and the appearance of plastic shavings, then apply some gentle pressure to the filament to help it through the system. This will often help to get the machine printing smoothly again.
  2. Adjust the Idler tension. Start by loosing the idler, feed in the filament and tighten until it stops slipping. Filaments vary in diameter so although the idler will absorb some difference in diameter some filaments will require fine adjustment.
  3. Remove the filament. In most cases you’ll need to remove and replace the filament and then feed it back through the system. Once the filament has been removed cut the filament below the area that shows signs of slipping and then feed back into the system. If the filament has snapped it may be passed its usable best. Try it again and if it snaps again and you find the filament appears brittle discard and use another filament.
  4. Check the Hot end temperature. If you have just inserted a new filament as the issue started, double check that you have the right temperature.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Stripped Filament

  • Help feed the system
  • Adjust the idler tension
  • Remove the filament
  • Check the hot end temperature

3D Printing Problems #15: Broken Infill


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The internal structure of your print is missing or broken.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

There are a number of reasons for the misprinting of the internal structure. The most common is incorrect settings within the slicing software, but it can also be due to a slightly blocked nozzle.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Broken Infill

  1. Check the Fill density. In your slicing software check the infill density. A value of around 20% is normal; any less than this and you’re likely to have issues. For larger prints you may want to increase this to ensure that the model has enough support.
  2. Infill Speed. The speed at which the infill is printed can have a major effect on the quality of the structure. If the infill is looking week then decrease the infill print speed.
  3. Change the pattern. Most slicing software enables you to change the internal structure. You can have a grid pattern, or triangle, honeycomb, and more. Try selecting a different option.
  4. Check your nozzle. It might be that there is a slight blockage in the nozzle. While the blockage doesn’t effect the printing of the thicker exterior walls, because there is less flow for the internal structure the filament is getting caught.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Broken Infill

  • Check and adjust the Fill density
  • Decrease the Infill Speed
  • Try a different infill pattern
  • Check your nozzle for blockages

3D Printing Problems #16: Ghosting of the Internal Structure


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The final print looks fine but an outline of the internal support structure can be seen through the walls of the print.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

The issue with ghosting happens due to the infill encroaching into the path of the perimeter. This effect is most visible when your print has thin walls. The problems is caused by the infill structure overlapping with the perimeter line as it’s being laid down. Although this ghosting is an issue it’s actually an important part of the printing process, as it helps the internal structure bond effectively to the external walls. Luckily it’s very easy to overcome.

Another cause of ghosting can be that you have set an incorrect wall thickness in relation to the size of nozzle that you’re using. In normal print conditions the size of the nozzle should be directly related to the nozzle size, so if you have a 0.4mm nozzle then the wall thickness should be a multiple of this, either 0.4, 0.8, 0.12 and so forth.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Ghosting of the Internal Structure

  1. Check the shell thickness. Make sure that the value you have selected for the shell thickness is a multiple of the nozzle size.
  2. Increase the shell thickness. The easiest solution is to increase the shell thickness. By doubling the size it should cover any overlap caused by the infill.
  3. Use Infill after perimeters. Most slicing software will enable you to activate Infill prints after perimeters.
    • In Cura open up the ‘Expert Settings’ and under the Infill section tick the box next to ‘Infill prints after perimeters’
    • In Simply3D Click ‘Edit Process Settings’ then select ‘Layer’ and under ‘Layer Settings’ select ‘Outside-in’ next to the ‘Outline Direction’.
  4. Check print platform. Check around the model and if you see that the effect is more prevalent on one side than the other, the effect could be due to calibration. If so run through the usual calibration process.
  5. Use it to your advantage. Depending on the type of model that you’re printing you can use the internal and shell printing order to your advantage. When you want a high quality print with a good surface finish where the actual strength of the model isn’t important, select print from the Outside-in. If however the strength of the print is paramount then select Print from in Inside-Out and double the wall thickness. The reason for the difference in strength is that when you print from the Outside-in you eliminate the small amount of overlap that causes the ghosting issue, but this also means that the actual structure won’t create the same strength of bond between the internal and external structure due to the lack of overlap.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Ghosting of the Internal Structure

  • Check the shell thickness.
  • Increase the wall thickness.
  • Use Infill after perimeters.
  • Check print platform and recalibrate if necessary.
  • Use it to your advantage.

3D Printing Problems #17: Gaps between Infill and Outer Wall


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

When you look at the top or bottom of the print, you can see a slight gap between the infill and the outer perimeter walls.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

Gaps between the perimeter and top layers used to be a common problem, but as printer accuracy has improved and the support for different materials extends, it’s now less of an issue than it was.

However the new wave of advanced materials are far less forgiving than the likes of PLA and ABS, and we’re starting to see a slight resurgence of the problem.
Gaps are caused by the filament used for the infill and outer walls not quite meeting bonding and is a relatively easy fix.

The most obvious cause of the problem is that the infill overlap is not set, or it’s set to “0”. This means that the slicing software is actually telling the printer not to allow the two parts of the print to meet.

Another issue could be the order in which you have set the infill and outer perimeters to be printed. If you’re printing the perimeter first for a high quality print then there is generally little or no overlap which can again cause the problem.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Gaps between Infill and Outer Wall

  1. Check the infill overlap. This is by far the most common issue and is really easy to resolve. In your slicing software locate the ‘Infill Overlap’ option and increase the value.
    • In Cura by default this is set to 15% so raise it to 30%.
    • In Simplify3D you’ll find the option in ‘Edit Process Settings > Infill > Outline Overlap’ again increase the value. This setting is directly linked to the extrusion width, so the % value will be a % of whatever you’re extrusion width is. When adjusting this setting always keep it below 50% or you’ll start to see the effects of the overlap in the outer perimeters of your print.
  2. Printing infill before the perimeter. If you’re printing with a relatively thin outer wall the structure of the infill can show through. If this happens then you can switch the order by which the printer lays down the infill and perimeter layers. For example, in Cura check to see if you have ‘Infill prints after perimeters’ ticked.
  3. Increase Hot end temperature. Some of the latest advanced materials such as XT-CF20 are a little less forgiving when it comes to spread due to the carbon fibres that make up part of their structure. When printing with these materials you may find that a slight 5-10º increase in hotend temperature makes all the difference.
  4. Slow it down. Okay, so you may be in a rush to get the print out, but printing at higher speeds can cause all sorts of issues if the printer isn’t perfectly calibrated. If you need to print quick you can still avoid gaps by decreasing the speed of the top layer.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Gaps between Infill and Outer Wall

  • Check the infill overlap.
  • Printing infill before the perimeter.
  • Increase Hot end temperature.
  • Slow it down.

3D Printing Problems #18: Non-Manifold Edges


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

Parts of your print are missing or the final print is weak and falls apart despite the exterior quality of the print looking fine. Sections of the print look completely different from the print preview or the final print has geometry errors that make no sense.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

Non-manifold edge are the common cause of misshapen or odd prints. Non-manifold edges are the edges of models that can only exist in the 3D space and not the physical world.

For example if you have two cubes in the real world and try to overlap them directly, it’s physically impossible as the solid outer walls prevent the two objects from intersecting.

In the 3D world you can simply intersect the two, they still exist as individual objects, but the software we use also enables them to intersect in the virtual world.

In order to get the two to print correctly the objects need to be merged so that any inner walls are removed and an object with a single undivided inner cavity is left.

Another common cause is if you have an object such as a cube and delete one of the surfaces. You essentially have an object with a hole, it might look like a shape with five sides, but it only exists in the virtual 3D space, this is geometry with no physical form.

Although you can see the outer walls in the software, the walls that meet the hole only have dimensions in two axis. The third dimension which we see as the thickness of the wall is only illustrative and has no real physical dimension. When it comes to slicing the model the  software does it’s best and in many cases will repair the hole, however in more complex models the effects can be interesting to say the least.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Non-Manifold Edges

  1. Use latest slicer software. Most of the latest slicer engines all support the automatic fixing of non-manifold edges but it’s still good practice to ensure that your models are correctly formed and print ready.
  2. Fix in Horrible in Cura. In Cura open Expert Settings and make sure that under ‘Fix Horrible’ you have Combine everything (Type-A) ticked.
  3. Fix ‘Non-manifold’ in Silmplify3D. In edit ‘Process settings’ click the ‘Advanced’ tab and select ‘Heal’ next to ‘Non-manifold segments.
  4. Use the layer view. In your slicer software use the layer view to check through the model so you can see where the issues appear. A quick slide through the layers will often highlight an easy to fix problem.
  5. Use software to fix issues. One of the easiest ways to fix models with non-manifold edges is to use software; Blender and Meshmixer both have features built in that will quickly enable you to highlight problems with your models and fix them prior to slicing.
  6. Merge objects. Really it’s better to fix your 3D models prior to importing them into your slicing software. To do this, make sure that when you have two objects that do intersect or overlap you choose the appropriate Boolean function to either intersect, merge or subtract.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Non-Manifold Edges

  • Keep your slicer software up to date.
  • “Fix Horrible” (in Cura).
  • “Fix Non-manifold” (in Simplify3D).
  • Use the layer view to check for mistakes.
  • Use software like Blender or Meshmixer to fix issues.
  • Merge objects.

3D Printing Problems #19: Model Overhangs


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

You load your print into your slicing software and everything looks good. Hit print and you find that some parts of the model print absolutely fine, whilst other parts end up as a stringy mess. OK this might seem obvious and the issue of overhangs is often seen as a 3D printing rookie mistake. But it’s surprising just how often even experienced 3D printers are hit with an overhang issue.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

The process of FFF requires that each layer is built upon another. It therefore should be obvious that if your model has a section of the print that has nothing below, then the filament will be extruded into thin air and will just end up as a stringy mess rather than an integral part of the print.

Really the slicer software should highlight that this will happen. But most slicer software will just let us go ahead and print without highlighting that the model requires some type of support structure.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Model Overhangs

  1. Add supports. The quickest and simplest solution is to add supports. Most slicing software will enable you to do this quickly. In Simplify3D click Edit Process Settings > Support > Generate support material; you can the adjust the amount, pattern and settings. In Cura just click the Support type from the Basic settings.
  2. Create in model supports. Supports generated by software can be intrusive so creating your own in your modelling application is a good alternative. It takes a bit more skill but can enable some fantastic results.
  3. Create a support platform. When printing a figure, arms and other extrusions are the most common areas that cause problems. Using supports from the print bed can also cause issues as they often have to span quite large vertical distances; for structures that are supposed to be easily removed and fragile, this distance is prime for causing problems. Creating a solid block or wall under arms etc and then creating a smaller support between the arm and block can be a great solution.
  4. Angle the walls. If you have a shelf style overhang then an easy solution is to slope the wall at 45º so that the wall actually supports itself and removes the need for any other type of support.
  5. Break the part apart. Another way to look at the model is to break it apart and rather than print in one section make two. With some models this enables you to flip what would be an overhang and make instead make it a base. The only issue with this is that you then have to find a way of sticking the two parts back together.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Model Overhangs

  • Add supports
  • Create in model supports
  • Create a support platform
  • Angle the walls
  • Separate the model and print smaller parts
  • Now all the potential troubles that might pop up during printing are all listed here. Hope that these two posts would make your creative process more smooth and fascinating!

via all3pd.

Troubleshooting Guide to 19 Common 3D Printing Problems|Part One

Frustrated with Fused Filament Fabrication? Read our 3D printer troubleshooting guide to the most common 3D printing problems and their solutions.

You’ve checked the model, seen countless others make it without issue, but try as you might it just won’t print. What is it that keeps going wrong?

This article will help you to quickly diagnose your 3D printing issues, and find the solution with our 3D printer troubleshooting guide. Discover how and when these 3D printing problems occur, and the steps you can take to avoid them in future.

19 Common 3D Printing Problems: Overview

If you don’t know the name of your problem, you can make reference to the following 19 problems.

1. Warping

2. Elephant Foot

3. More First Layer Problems

4. Layer Misalignment

5. Missing Layers

6. Cracks in Tall Objects

7. Pillowing

8. Stringing

9. Under-Extrusion

10. Over-Exrusion

11. Shifting Layers

12. Blocked Bowden Nozzle

13. Snapped Filament

14. Stripped Filament

15, Broken Infill

16. Ghosting of the Internal Structure

17. Gaps Between Infill and Outer Wall

18. Non-Manifold Edges

19. Model Overhangs

3D Printing Problems #1: Warping


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

At the base of the model, the print bends upwards until it’s no longer level with the print platform. This can also result in horizontal cracks in upper parts.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

Warping is common as it’s caused by a natural characteristic of the plastic. As the ABS or PLA filament cools it starts to contract very slightly; the problem of warping arises if the plastic is cooled too quickly.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Warping

  1. Use a heated print platform. The easiest solution is to use a heated print platform and to set the temperature to a point just below the plastics melting point. This is called the “glass transition temperature”. If you get that temperature right then the first layer will stay flat on the print platform. The print platform temperature is often set by the slicer software. You’ll normally find the recommended temperature for your filament printed on the side of the packaging or on the spool.
  2. Apply glue. If you still find your print lifting at the edges then apply a tiny amount of stick glue evenly on the bed to increase adhesion.
  3. Try a different platform type. Change your print bed to one that offers better adhesion. Manufacturers such as Lulzbot use a PEI (Polyetherimide) print surface that offers excellent adhesion without glue. XYZPrinting supply a textured tape in the box with some of their printers, basically a large sheet of masking tape, and again adding this works excellently, although only with nonheated print platforms. Zortrax 3D printers have a perforated print bed, models weld themselves to this surface eliminating the issue completely.
  4. Level the Print platform. Print platform calibration can be another cause, run through the calibration process to check that the bed is level and nozzle height is correct.
  5. Increase contact. Increasing the contact between the model and bed is an easy fix and most print software has the option to add rafts or platforms.
  6. Adjust advanced temperature settings. If all else fails then you’ll need to take a look at your advanced print settings both on your printer and in your print software. Try increasing the print bed temperature by increments of 5 degrees.
    In the slicer software take a look at the fan cooling, this is usually set so the cooling fans switch to full power at a height of around 0.5mm, try extending this to 0.75 to give the base layers a little more time to cool naturally.
    Even if your printer has a heated print platform, it’s always recommended that you use glue and regularly calibrate the bed level.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Warping

  • Use a heated print platform
  • Add Stick glue to the print platform
  • Swap from glass to an adhesive print bed
  • Calibrate print bed
  • Add platforms or rafts
  • Adjust advance the temperature and fan settings

3D Printing Problems #2: Elephant Foot


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The base of the model is slightly bulging outwards, otherwise known as “elephant foot”

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

This ungainly effect can also be caused by the weight of the rest of the model pressing down the first layers when the lower layers haven’t had time to cool back into a solid – particularly when your printer has a heated bed.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Elephant Foot

  1. The right balance. To stop elephant foot appearing in your 3D prints the base layers of the model need to be cooled sufficiently so that they can support the structure above, but if you apply too much cooling to the base layers you can create warping. Getting the balance right can be tricky, start by lowering the temperature of the print platform by intervals of 5 degrees, (within +/- 20 degrees of the recommended temperature). If your  Bottom / Top Thickness is set to 0.6mm then start the fan after the fan at a slightly lower height.
  2. A level base. More often than not the majority of print issues can be traced back to the level of the print platform. Each printer has a slightly different technique for print platform leveling. Start by using your printers manufacturers recommended procedure. Then print a calibration cube and just watch how the filament is laid down. From printing of the cube you should be able to see if the filament is being laid down evenly, if the nozzle is too close to the print platform and scraping through the molten filament or too high and causing the filament to blob.
  3. Raise the nozzle. Just raising the height of the nozzle slightly can often help, but be careful too high and it won’t stick to the platform.
  4. Chamfer the base. If all else fails then another option is to chamfer the base of your model. Of course, this is only possible if you have either designed the model yourself or you have access to the original file. Start with a 5mm and 45º chamfer, and experiment to get the best result.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Elephant Foot

  • Balance print platform temperature and fan speed
  • Level the print platform
  • Check the nozzle height
  • Chamfer the model base

3D Printing Problems #3: More First Layer Problems


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The first layer does not stick properly, and some parts come loose. There are unwanted lines at the bottom.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

These 3D printing problems are typical signs that the print bed hasn’t been leveled properly. If the nozzle is too far away from the bed, the bottom surface often shows unwanted lines, and/or the first layer does not stick. If the nozzle is too close, blobs may be the result.

Also important: the print bed has to be as clean as possible. Fingerprints on the plate can prevent the first layer from sticking to the plate.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: More First Layer Issues

  1. Level the print bed. Every printer has a different process for print platform leveling, some like the latest Lulzbots utilize an extremely reliable auto leveling system, others such as the Ultimaker have a handy step-by-step approach that guides you through the adjustment process and then there’s the Prusa i3 that takes skill and determination.
  2. Adjust the nozzle height. If the nozzle is too high then the filament won’t stick to the platform, to low and the nozzle will actually start to scrape the print off.
  3. Clean the print platform. Every so often it’s a good idea to give the glass print platform a good clean, especially if you apply glue. The grease from your fingerprints and the excessive build up of glue deposits can all contribute to the nonstickiness of the print platform.
  4. Add glue. Applying a thin layer of glue to the print platform will help add a little more adhesion if you do this make sure you give the bed a clean at regular intervals as the over application of glue can have the reverse of the desired effect.
  5. Textured sheet for cold print beds. On cold print platforms, a common solution is to apply a stick-on film or sheet that increases the adhesive properties of the print platform.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: More First Layer Issues

  • Level the print platform
  • Check nozzle height
  • Clean print platform
  • Add Glue
  • Textured sheets for cold platforms

3D Printing Problems #4: Layer Misalignment


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

Some layers in the middle of the objects have shifted.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

The printer belts aren’t well tightened. The top plate isn’t fastened and wobbles around independent of the bottom plate. One of the rods in the Z axis is not perfectly straight.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Layer Misalignment

  1. Check the belts. Start by checking each of the belts are tight but not over tight. You should feel a little resistance from the two belts as you pinch them together. If you find that the top section of the belt is tighter than the bottom then this is a sure fire sign that they need a tweak and tighten.
  2. Check the top plate. Check the top plate and all rods and attachments at the top of the printer and make sure everything is tight and aligned.
  3. Check the Z axis rods. Many printers use threaded rods rather than lead screws and although these do the job they do have a tendency to bend over time. Don’t worry about dismantling your printer to see if they’re straight, simply use the software such as ‘Printrun’ to move the print head up or down. If one of the Z axis rods is bent you’ll instantly see. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to accurately straighten a rod once it’s bent, but on the upside, it’s a good excuse to replace the old threaded rods for lead screws.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Layer Misalignment

  • Check the tension in the belts
  • Check there’s no movement in the top plate
  • Make sure the Z axis rods are straight

3D Printing Problems #5: Missing Layers


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

There are gaps in the model because some layers have been skipped (in part or completely).

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

The printer failed to provide the amount of plastic required for printing the skipped layers. This is called (temporary) under-extrusion. There may have been a problem with the filament (e.g. the diameter varies), the filament spool, the feeder wheel or a clogged nozzle.

Friction has caused the bed to temporarily get stuck. The cause may be that the vertical rods are not perfectly aligned with the linear bearings.

There is a problem with one of the Z axis rods or bearings. The rod could be distorted, dirty or had been oiled excessively.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Missing Layers

  1. Mechanical check. It’s good practice to give your 3D Printer the once over every now and again and the appearance of gaps in your 3D print are always a good sign that now is the time to give your 3D printer some love and attention. Start off by checking the rods and make sure that they’re all seated into either bearings or clips and haven’t popped out, shifted or moved even slightly.
  2. Rod alignment Check. Make sure that all rods are still in perfect alignment and haven’t shifted. You can often tell by switching off the power (or disabling steppers) and then gently moving the print head through the X and Y axis. If there is any resistance to the movement then something is wrong and it’s usually pretty easy to tell if this is due to misalignment, a slightly bent rod or one the bearings.
  3. Worn bearing. When bearings go they usually let you know about it by creating an audible din. You should also be able to feel uneven motion in the print head and when printing the machine looks like it’s vibrating slightly. If this is the case unplug the power and move the print head through the X and Y to locate the region of the broken bearing.
  4. Check for oil. Lubricating the joints is easy to forget, but keeping everything well oiled is essential to the smooth running of the machine. Sewing machine oil is ideal and can be purchased for almost any haberdashery at a relatively inexpensively price. Before you go applying liberally just check that the rods are clean and free of dirt and printing debris, a quick wipe of the rods before applying fresh coat of oil is always a good idea. When all rods look clean just dab on a little, but not too much. Then use print such as Printrun to move the head through the X and Y axis to make sure that the rods are evenly covered and moving smoothly. If you add a little too much oil don’t worry just wipe some off with a lint free cloth.
  5. Under-Extrusion. The final issue could be under-extrusion and finding the solution for this can cumbersome.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Missing Layers

  1. Check over the mechanics and make sure everything is tight
  2. Double check the printer’s construction and alignment
  3. Listen out for worn bearings and bent rods
  4. Add a little oil to keep things running smooth

3D Printing Problems #6: Cracks In Tall Objects


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

There are cracks on the sides, especially on taller models. This can be one of the most surprising issues in 3D Printing as it tends to manifest itself in larger prints, and usually whilst you’re not looking.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

In higher layers, the material cools faster, because the heat from the heated print bed doesn’t reach that high. Because of this, adhesion in the upper layers is lower.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Cracks In Tall Objects

  1. Extruder temperature. Start by increasing the extruder temperature; a good start would be to increase it by 10ºC. On the side of your filament box you’ll see the working hot end temperatures, try to keep the temperature adjustment within these values.
  2. Fan direction and speed. Double check your fans, make sure that they’re on and aimed at the model. If they are try reducing their speed.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Cracks In Tall Objects

  • Check the hot end temperature and raise at 10-degree intervals
  • Check the position and speed of the cooling fans

3D Printing Problems #7: Pillowing


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

The top surface of the print shows unsightly bumps or even holes.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

The two most common causes are improper cooling of the top layer and that the top surface isn’t thick enough.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Pillowing

  1. Filament size. More common with 1.75 mm filament. Pillowing is an issue that can affect all 3D printers, however, it’s far more common on those using 1.75 mm filament over 2.85mm.
  2. Check the fan position. Cooling is normally the issue start by checking your fans. As the print starts your printers fans will be set to low or off, after the first few layers have printed they should kick into action. Check that the fans around the hotend start to spin, then as the print finishes check the fans are all good and working. If all seems OK just double check that the direction of the fans is correct and that they’re pushing cool air towards your print and not elsewhere.
  3. Set fan speed in G-Code. Another cooling issue happens when each successive top layer of molten plastic is applied. As it covers the inner support structure it needs to be cooled quickly to avoid falling into the holes between the supports. The speed of the fans can be adjusted in the G-Code, a common G-Code for Fan On is M106 and is M107 Fan Off. You then just need to the Fan speed to maximum for those top layers.
    An example would for a 1cm x 1cm cube printer at 0.1mm layer height. The G-Code in this case output through CURA for the Prusa i3, we can look through the code and see that there are 97 layers. Knowing that we have a ‘Bottom / Top Thickness setting’ of 0.6mm we can look back to ;LAYER:91 then in the line after add M106 S255. M106 sets the fan going and S255 sets it to full blast.
  4. Increase top layer thickness. The easiest solution is to increase the top layer thickness. Most applications will enable you to do this in the advanced section, under the ‘Bottom / Top Thickness setting’. You’re aiming for at least 6 layers of material normally and up to 8 for smaller nozzles and filament. If your layer height is therefore set to 0.1mm then set the ‘Bottom / Top Thickness setting’ to 0.6mm. If the effect of pillowing still exists then increase to 0.8mm.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Pillowing

  • Go large and increase the filament size
  • Make sure the fans are up to speed and positioned
  • Manually set the fan speed
  • Increase the top layer thickness

3D Printing Problems #8: Stringing


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

There are unsightly strings of plastic between parts of the model.

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

When the print head moves over an open area (otherwise known as travel move), some filament has dripped from the nozzle.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Stringing

  1. Enable Retraction. Retraction is an important factor when it comes to quality of finish and can be enabled through most slicing software. Its function is pretty simple and works by retracting the filament back into the nozzle before the head moves. The idea is that it avoids molten filament from trailing behind the head creating thin strings in its wake.
  2. One click retraction activation. Most applications such as Cura offer a one click activation option, this uses a set of default parameters and for the most part is perfectly adequate. However, if you want a few more options there’s often a more settings buttons. Here you can adjust the minimum travel of the head before retraction is activated.
  3. Minimum travel (mm). Reducing the minimum travel is usually the quickest fix for stringing if the standard retraction isn’t doing the job. Drop the value in 0.5mm until stringing is stopped. Activating retraction will increase your print speeds.
  4. Just cut them off. This isn’t the most elegant of solutions but simply taking a scalpel to the strings is quite often the quickest and easiest solution, and has the benefit that it doesn’t increase print times.

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Stringing

  • Enable retraction
  • Adjust the minimum travel before retracting starts
  • Just clean the print with a scalpel

3D Printing Problems #9: Under-Extrusion


What’s the 3D Printing Problem?

Under-extrusion is when the printer cannot supply the material needed (or as fast as needed). Under-extrusion results in thin layers, in layers with unwanted gaps, or in missing layers entirely (see 3D Printing Problems #5: Missing Layers).

What’s Causing this 3D Printing Problem?

There are several possible causes. First, the diameter of the filament used does not match the diameter set in the slicing software. Secondly, the amount of material that is extruded is too low because of faulty slicer software settings. Alternatively, the flow of the material through the extruder is restricted by dirt in the nozzle.

3D Printer Troubleshooting: Under-Extrusion

  1. Check the filament diameter. Start with the simplest issue, have you set the correct filament diameter in the slicing software. If you’re unsure about the diameter the value along with the recommended temperature is usually printed on the box.
  2. Measure the filament. If you’re still not getting the results you want and filament flow is the issue, then use a set of calipers to double check the filament diameter. You should be able to tweak the filament diameter settings accurately in the slicer software settings.
  3. Check the head. After printing, most printers will lift the printhead away from the print base. Quickly check that the nozzle is clear from a build up of filament and dirt.
  4. Set the extrusion multiplier. If there is no mismatch between actual filament diameter and the software setting, then check the extrusion multiplier (or flow rate or flow compensation) setting may be too low. Each slicer application will handle this slightly differently but the principle is to increase the setting in steps of 5% and then restart the print process.
    In Simplify3D open the Edit Process Settings dialog and go to the Extruder tab – the Extrusion multiplier setting of 1.0 corresponds to 100%; In Cura open the Material tab and increase the Flow setting (you may need to enable the Flow setting through the Preferences dialog).

3D Printing Problem Checklist: Under-Extrusion

  • Check the filament diameter
  • Use calipers to measure the filament diameter
  • Check that the hot end is clear
  • Adjust the extrusion multiplier at 5% intervals

We will continue to provide another 10 common issues concerning 3D printing. Please stay tuned with our blog!

via 3alldp.

A collection of post-processing guides make 3D printing Easier!!

Here are six new guides to post-processing for 3D printing, including how to sand, glue, and paint 3D printed items. This short article shows how to achieve a perfect surface finish, as well as how to make silicone molds from 3D prints and how to carry out vacuum forming.

Post-processing opens up a world of interesting possibilities beyond just the print, but requires you to think about the process a bit differently.

Here are the important bits:

Sanding 3D printed models can help to remove the appearance of layer lines, but it is important to carry out the practice carefully, starting with rougher paper and finishing with softer. It is also important not to sand in one place for too long as heat generated from friction could melt the PLA. It is advised that surfaces printed in the Z axis will have the smoothest surface finish, and if you plan to glue your model, take care not to remove too much material around seams or joining surfaces.




Sanding a 3D printed part

For when the gluing stage comes around, here is one hot tip: when creating joints or keys for a model, one should make sure to create joining features large enough for the 3D printer to create them cleanly. Generally, features should be larger than 4-5mm in diameter. Glued components should be secured together using rubber bands, and cyanoacrylate glue should be used to spot glue around the connecting areas. If seams are rough or have gaps, bondo or filler can be used to smooth them.




Gluing a 3D printed part

When a 3D printed part is sanded and glued together, painting is often the next step. For this important stage of post-processing, it is highly recommended hanging the prepared 3D print in an open, dust-free space with plenty of ventilation. This will allow you to paint all surfaces evenly without having to handle the model while paint is drying. Primer/filler should be used first, followed by another stage of sanding, after which paint should be sprayed at an arm’s length from the object. The painted object will be ready to polish after 1-2 days.




Painting a 3D printed part

To add longevity to 3D printed enclosures that need to accept screws, it is often useful to install threaded inserts. When doing so, holes in a model should be made slightly smaller than the inserts to be installed. This will account for any plastic that melts when installing the inserts. Additionally, increasing the number of shells will leave more plastic around inserts. When installing the inserts, it is useful to keep the 3D printed part secure in a vice, and incredibly important to only install the inserts gradually, since PLA can deform at moderate temperatures.




Installing threaded inserts into a 3D printed part

The final part of the post-processing guide concerns how to vacuum form using 3D printed molds. Vacuum forming is a manufacturing process in which a sheet of plastic is heated and pressed over a form to create a part, and is used to make plastic containers, amongst other things. When 3D printing vacuum forming molds, we suggest increasing shells and infill settings to create a strong mold that will withstand the pressures of vacuum forming. An industrial vacuum forming machine is needed to heat the plastic sheet, which can then be pressed over the 3D printed mold. According to MakerBot, it is worth producing two or three spare 3D printed molds up front in case the first mold becomes damaged.




Vacuum forming with a 3D printed mold

With these beneficial tips for post-processing 3D printed items, we envision a thriving future for the development of 3D manufacturing and a vista of more and more 3D hobbyists joining us~~

via 3ders

how to use 3DTouch Auto Leveling Sensor on your geeetech Prusa I3


3DTouch is an auto leveling sensor for 3D Printers that can precisely measure the tilt of your print surface. It can greatly improve the printing precision of your 3D Printer.

3DTouch features simple, smart and precise. It could work with nearly any kind of bed materials, such as glasses, woods, metals and so on.

The main functions and controls of 3DTouch are the same as most auto bed leveling sensors, which consists of a RC servo and a micro switch, thus, 3DTouch can be used on almost every 3D printer control board.

How to use it

1 mount the 3DTouch sensor

So far we have successfully tested our 3DTouch sensor on Geeetech Prusa I3 pro B, Pro C and Pro X.

Here is a detailed instructions on how to use the 3DTouch sensor to your geeetech pro B. For pro C and pro X, the steps are the same.

You will need a suitable mount to attach the 3DTouch sensor to your printer.Here is a 3DTouch sensor mount:


  1. Download the .stl file here and print one.
  2. Fix the mount on the Extruder holder with 2 M3*6mm screw.

3dtouch-sensor-mount-3 3dtouch-sensor-mount-2

3.Fix the 3DTouch sensor on the sensor mount with 2 M3*16mm screws and 2 M3 nuts.


2 Wiring

The 3DTouch Auto Leveling sensor has 5 wires, 3 for the first servo connection and 5v and 2 for the Z min end stop, negative and signal pins.

3DTouch can be operated in the following condition.

  1. One I/O for control (PWM or Software PWM)
  2. One I/O for Z min (Z Probe)
  3. GND and +5V power

Let’s take our geeetech GT2560 3D Printer control board as an example.

There are several ways to connect the 3DTouch Auto Leveling sensor to GT2560, here is the easiest way.

Step1. Remove the Z max connector from the board and replace it with a 3Pin Straight Pin. You need to use soldering iron here.


Step2. Use DuPont wire to extend the wires of 3DTouch. It doesn’t matter if you cannot find the wires with the same color, but do not mix the wires up.


Step3. Connect the extended wire to the GT2560 control board.

Connect the 3 pin wire to the Z max pin.

3-pin: Brown (-, GND) Red (+5V) Orange (control signal)


Connect the 2 pin wire to the Z min pin.



Note the wire order. When using 3DTouch Auto Leveling sensor, you do not need to connect the original Z min end stop wires.

That’s all for the wiring of the 3DTouch Auto Leveling sensor and GT2560.

3 Firmware setting

Changes need to be made for the configuration file in the Marlin source code for 3DTouch. The required changes are similar to how you would setup a mechanical servo sensor.

Step1. Find the following code in Configuration.h:


  • Modify the code in the red box into:
  • // Number of servos
  • //
  • // If you select a configuration below, this will receive a default value and does not need to be set manually
  • // set it manually if you have more servos than extruders and wish to manually control some
  • // leaving it undefined or defining as 0 will disable the servo subsystem
  • // If unsure, leave commented / disabled
  • //
  • #define NUM_SERVOS 1 // Servo index starts with 0 for M280 command
  • // Servo Endstops
  • //
  • // This allows for servo actuated endstops, primary usage is for the Z Axis to eliminate calibration or bed height changes.
  • // Use M206 command to correct for switch height offset to actual nozzle height. Store that setting with M500.
  • //
  • #define SERVO_ENDSTOPS {-1, -1, 0} // Servo index for X, Y, Z. Disable with -1
  • #define SERVO_ENDSTOP_ANGLES {0,0, 0,0, 10,90} // X,Y,Z Axis Extend and Retract angles

Step2. Find the codes regarding to Bed Auto Leveling in Configuration.h.


//=============================Bed Auto Leveling=======================

  • #define ENABLE_AUTO_BED_LEVELING // Delete the comment to enable (remove // at the start of the line)
  • #define Z_PROBE_REPEATABILITY_TEST  // If not commented out, Z-Probe Repeatability test will be included if Auto Bed Leveling is Enabled.
  • // set the rectangle in which to probe
  • Step3: scroll down to find the codes to Define the probe offset
  • probe-offset

    #else  // not AUTO_BED_LEVELING_GRID




    Step4.  Find the following code in pins.h

    If you do not find the pins.h tab on Arduino IDE, please open it separately, after the modification, please save it.

  • pin
  • Find the code as shown in the red box:

  • z-max


* Ultimaker pin assignment




#define Z_MAX_PIN -1//32

#define Z_ENABLE_PIN 35

#define SUICIDE_PIN    54  //PIN that has to be turned on right after start, to keep power flowing.

#define SERVO0_PIN     32//13  // untested

Now, we have finished the firmware; please upload the modified firmware to your control board.

4 Testing

When the 3DTouch is first powered up it does a self test – Starting with the pin up it them goes down/up 3 times and ends up the LED on solid. Continuous flashing means that there is an obstruction or fault.

The 3DTouch acts on the following g.code that can be used manually to diagnose faults etc but you don’t need to normally worry about them.

M280 P0 S10 ; pushes the pin down

M280 P0 S90 ; pulls the pin up

M280 P0 S120 ; Self test – keeps going until you do pin up/down or release alarm

M280 P0 S160 ; Release alarm

Alarm – The 3DTouch can sense when something is wrong and then goes into alarm mode which is continuous flashing. Alarm can be triggered like an obstruction that stops the pin going up and down freely, it could be dirt etc.

5 Printer setting

Providing the firmware is correctly configured, the sensor responds to the same codes as any other sensor e.g. inductive, capacitive or IR. The Start Code in you slicer should contain the sequence G28 followed by G29 to do the auto bed leveling.

Open Slicer>printer setting


Add G29 command right after G28


*Don’t put another G28 after the G29 as it will just remove the G29 results.

The G29 command should be added every time.

Here is a video of using the 3DTouch Auto Leveling Sensor on Geeetech Prusa I3 pro B 3d printer.

For More information about 3DTouch auto leveling sensor, please visit Geeetech.com

Best mods and hacks on geeetech prusa I3 pro you do want to miss

Geeetech has provided at least 6 DIY 3d printer kits for our customers to learn about 3D printing from the scratch.

After a long time of use and you have become a master of the printer, you can unleash your creativity to do as much modifications as you like.

Today I would like to share with you some of the best  mods and hacks on geeetech prusa I3 pro you do want to miss. These mods and hacks can be used on most of our prusa I3.

These designs are all created by Luca Benedetto who is a Maker, Designer and Engineer from Italy.

Let’s take a look at his amazing designs:

1.Underbody of Geeetech prusa I3 pro B.

Underbody of Geeetech prusa I3 pro B

“The option I’ve take to block my printer on a wood bed suggest me to re-design the underbody protection in order to put a couple of locking point backmost on the printer.
You can find a couple of alternative component to fit underbody also if you have already installed the Y-Chain, or if you do not desire install the Y-Chain!” said by Luca

Donload the files here.

2. control board case

 Arduino Box

Here the Arduino Box to protect the brain of our printer!
Just before my original customization GEEETech have introduce a new mainboard the GT2560, more “bigger” and that cannot enter in old Arduino Box, so new one has been designed to support both board!

Download the files here

3.Extruder End

Extruder End

The heat of this period led me to restore the previous design of the air duct from the accessory fan, controlled by D9 … question of artwork with the tilted fan to 45 °, which in its first incarnation was disturbing a hair on transmission wire problem that this latest version does not have, and it forced me to nOT turn on the fan before layer 4 because otherwise I was getting cold too the piece, but given the current temperatures better too cool, you can turn off!

Download the files here 

You can find more amazing design at his thingiver page here http://www.thingiverse.com/Luca_Benedetto/designs/page:2.

If you have any mods and hacks on geeetech 3dprinters, you are welcomed to share with us.


12-year old builds working 3D Printer out of over-the-shelf LEGO parts and a 3D Printing Pen

It is often said that the youth of today are the future. This is accurate in just about on every regard, and considering the nature of how linear time works, it would be difficult to find someone that doesn’t find truth in the statement. The more I follow 3D printing however, the more I become convinced that today’s youth are capable of innovating just fine right here in the present.

Whether its a 17 year old’s low-cost SLS 3D printer, a 15 year old innovating in the field of robotics or another pushing the boundries of mind-control, the youth of today don’t seem to want to wait for their chance to make a difference.

So when a 12-year old tinkerer went ahead and made a 3D printer using a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit and a low-cost 3D printing pen, I was barely even surprised. And while it’s doubtful it’ll be able to produce intricate 100 micron models at blistering speed with incredible accuracy any time soon, it still offers a really cool, think-outside-the-lego-box approach to creating a 3D printer.

Too young to even sign up for Instructables himself (his mom made the account for him) the contraption is based on motors moving around the extruding pen in three-dimensional space (x/y/z) while following the basic rules of just about every 3D printer out there today.

Even though the build instructions include everything you need to complete the project, a lot is left up to interpretation. So the perfectionist might feel a little frustrated regarding how exactly things work with steps such as “Add another very smooth connector between the two small pillars. Basically make the structure sturdy by adding support where ever necessary using Lego/K’NEX pieces.” But heck, if it works it works and the visual aides provided should suffice in assisting you in building a similar 3D printer of your own.

Additionally, technical purists might be brought to tears when trying to figure out the tension required and how much tape to use for instructions like “on the ring, create an obtruded part, such that the part touches the button to start the 3D printing pen. On the other side of the ring, attach a piece of yarn that will go to the other edge of the prism and ultimately to the motor. The motor will have the string taped to its axle.” But again, with a little effort and tinkering, everything you need to reproduce the 3D printer is made available.

At the end of the day, the the goal was to create a working 3D printer with Lego (and some K’NEX) and that’s exactly what useramoghp succeeded in doing. Sure, the software used was primitive (Minstorms EV3 Home Edition) and the results remain a work in progress (it is difficult to determine how many layers completed on the only provided sample 3D print) but for a 12-year old hoping to win the site’s current 3D printing contest in the youth category (you can vote for him at the top right of his Instructable), I think he accomplished everything and then some.

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Oringinally Posted in 3D Printing Application b3dgeable

How to Print dual color models with geeetech prusa I3 pro C

if you are interested in 3D printing, you cannot afford to miss this post, today, i will show you a step by step instruction on how to print dual color models with geeetech prusa I3 pro C.

3d print dual color model tellurion 

 dual color printing model

Before reading this text,please make sure you have already read the set up guide of the version of 13B single extruder and you can use it to print 3D models. If not, please learn how to operate the single extruder. Of course, you can take this one as the single extruder version to start.

 Step 1Open Repetier Hostclick Config/Printer Settings to set up the connection.

 1. Name your printer. 

2. Select the corresponding COM port and baud rate. Baud rate is generally 115200 or250000.

3. If you are not sure about the COM port, you can check it in your device menager. 

dual extruder set up1

Step 2: Set up your extruder

  1. Choose the number of extruder, here we choose 2.
  2. Set up the diameter and color of filament
  3. Offset X/Y refers to the distance between the two extruderswhich can be adjusted based on real situations. You can leave it alone now.

 dual extruder set up2

Step 3: Set up the shape of printer

 Choose Classic printer as the printer type.

Home X: min  Home Y: min   Home Z: min

Print height: 150

 dual extruder set up3

Nowyou can click the Connect button on the left corner to check whether it can connect with your printer. If it fails, please recheck the COM port and Baud rate.

Step 4:  Manual control 

 dual extruder set up4

 1. X home,

Click X home to home the X axis, or you can click the right/left arrow to move the axis to check whether the direction and distance is normal or not;

2. Check Y axis and Z axis respectively in the same way;

3. Click the icon of heated bed on RH to heat up the bed. observe whether the temperature is rising to a pre-set value;

4. Click the icon of heated bed and extruder, observe whether it is heating up to the pre-set temperature and keeps at that value. 

5. When the temperature of extruder surpass 170 °C , choose extruder1 and extruder2 respectively, you can move them and check their directions. 

Step 5: leveling the two extruders. 

Leveling the two extruder is very important if you want to printer with two extruders at the same time.

First, you can adjust one extruder to make it parallel with the surface of the heated bed in (the same way you level for the single extruder) , click the button of Z home to adjust the distance between the nozzle and the heated bed, make sure the vertical distances of the nozzle to the four corners of the bed are the same. 

Then, you can adjust the distance between the second extruder and heated bed by adjust the screws, as shown in the following picture: 

Loose the screws, you can adjust the distance between two extruders and heated bed.

For more detailed instructions, please view here

take a look at the printing object here. 


now, it time you try with your prusa I3 pro C.