Preparing your 3D printer before printing

Before using the printer for the first time, it is a good idea to set it up properly at first to avoid unnecessary trouble. Based on our customer support, we recommend at first to set the correct z-height, check the retraction setting with each material you use and don’t forget to spray the bed. For this calibration you will have to export a model to your printer with using Slicer (chapter 4. Exporting model to your printer)

Perfect First Layer

To have your printer calibrated well is the most important to achieve the best results. It is wise to calibrate you printer every time you assemble it or after changing the nozzle. When printing with some nice materials like Matte PLA on a perfect Z-Level, you can get perfect top layers which almost don’t seem to be printed by FFF.

At first, your print bed should be aligned with the print head and you can find those instructions in you 3D printer manual. A lot of printers use calibrating sensor to help you with aligning the bed. But you must not forget that to set the Z – 0 level correctly.

Calibrating with a paper

The most elementary way is to calibrate your z-level is with a piece of regular paper. You can also use it for aligning the whole bed.

There should be a space between the bed and the nozzle to fit the paper. When you are at Z-Level at 0 and you put the paper under the print head, you should be able to move the paper, but you should feel a light friction. When the paper hardly moves, the level is too low and if there is a space for two papers, the level is too high. 

You can also adjust the z-level depending on what the first layer looks like. Layers should be connected perfectly with no gaps or overflow. When there are gaps between the layers, the level is high and when you see overflowing material, the level is low. And if the print is not visible at all, the level is way too low 🫣. 

On very basic printers it is very easy to adjust the bed during the print with slightly turning wheels or screws.

Important note: when printing watertight prints, it is good to have a position a little lower or correct along with a flow setting up to 100% where it is good to see the bits a little overflow. It makes you sure, there are no gaps between layers.

Retraction

If you’re printing with a basic filament like regular pla, the basic retraction setting is usually correct. Nicer materials like modern pla, matte pla and specialty materials need to adjust the settings. What does retraction mean? Every time the printer needs to travel from one place to another, it has to pull the material back into the head and then push it out again. Otherwise it would leave a material along the way, called strings. What is even worse, especially if you need to print waterproof products, is to have too much retraction and it prints little material after each travel and you have holes in the print.

Retraction settings are different for all the printers, because there is a big difference if you have direct extruder or not. We recomend to read the manufacturer. We recommend going through the manufacturer’s recommendations and ideally also looking for people’s experiences. And doing a few tests is definitely the best. If your printer do strings, you should increase the retraction distance. And when you have some holes after the travel, increase Retraction Extra Prime Amount.

Retraction settings:

Distance – how much material goes back

Speed – how fast

Retraction Extra Prime Amount – how much material goes out after retraction

Adhesive Spray  

We recommend to use adhesive spray on you bed to prevent warping and tearing your print. sometimes the print may come loose and fall off after a few hours of printing, which is very sad. We are always using 3DLAC spray and together with the right bed temperature we never had a problem.

next:

Choosing a material