Always Have These Basic Supplies On Hand

Having the right basic supplies in stock always helps get the 3D printing job done faster…and with less frustration. The problem is that this list of things you could potentially need can very quickly become very long. We found a narrowed down list of supplies you should always have within reach. Keep in mind, if you’re looking for a comprehensive list of tools, this isn’t it!

As someone who 3D prints professionally or as a hobby, always have these basic supplies on hand.

Alcohol wipes

“Let’s start with something incredibly cheap and basic: alcohol wipes. We recommend this pack of 100 individually wrapped alcohol wipes from Medique, although any similar product you can get from a local pharmacy or grocery will do perfectly fine.

More importantly, alcohol wipes are very useful in cleaning off your build platform before you start any new 3D printing project. When setting up a build platform, it’s almost unavoidable to touch its top surface with our fingers, which tends to leave oil residue. This oil greatly reduces the ability of the plastic filament to the platform’s surface, which could lead to a host of first layer problems. A quick wipe with these alcohol wipes is absolutely necessary, even if you intend to apply some adhesion aid to your build platform.”

Vacuum-sealed containers

“When it comes to 3D printing filaments, moisture is the enemy. Filaments are naturally hygroscopic materials, which means that they readily take up moisture from the environment. If you use a filament that hasn’t been sufficiently dried in your 3D printer, the trapped moisture will expand in the hot end nozzle and cause the formation of bubbles that can eventually burst, leading to prints of poor quality. Worse still, the bubbles could burst inside the nozzle and cause clogging.

To make sure that you avoid filament moisture problems, you need to keel all your filament spools inside airtight vacuum containers. There are a lot of options out there. You can get this fancy Polybox from Polymaker which actively extracts moisture and keeps your filament at less than 15% humidity, or this inexpensive package of five plastic containers with plastic clasps and vacuum seals.”

Desiccant pouches

“Unless you have the time to dry your filament in an oven before use or a fancy container with active dehumidifier capabilities, you will need to store your filament with something that will draw out its moisture. This 60-pack bundle only costs around $10 and should last you for a really long time.

Your filament absorbs a good deal of moisture every time you take it out of its airtight container. This moisture again needs to be removed once you put it back. Throwing in at least five of these small desiccant pouches with your filament should do the job.

Desiccant doesn’t last forever, though, as they can still get saturated with moisture. You’ll need to swap out your old ones for fresh desiccant pouches every now and then, so it’s always a good idea to have ample supply all the time.”

Acetone

“If you work with ABS frequently, then acetone can be one of the most versatile tools that you can have on stock. Acetone readily evaporates at room temperature, so you can’t really store an open bottle for long before it all dries out. For this reason, we don’t recommend getting a huge bottle – this 8-ounce bottle of pure acetone should be just enough for what you need without letting a huge portion of it go to waste.

The unique characteristic of acetone is that it’s the perfect solvent for ABS. This can be used in two major ways: for creating ABS glue as an adhesion aid, or for finishing an ABS print.

ABS glue is basically a solution of ABS plastic dissolved in a bit of acetone. This solution can be applied to a heated printing bed is one of the best ways to keep your ABS print to stick to the build platform. As anyone who has even printed with ABS can tell you, warping and adhesion are two of the biggest challenges with ABS. Making your own ABS glue is an effective and inexpensive solution to this problem.

When an ABS print is exposed to acetone in controlled conditions, the acetone melts a very thin layer of the ABS, resulting in a consistently smooth surface. Finishing an ABS print using an acetone vapor bath is one of the best uses of acetone and one of the most reliable finishing methods. Acetone can also be used to ‘glue’ separate ABS parts by binding them at the molecular level. Considering the many ways that acetone can be used for 3D printing, it’s considered prudent to always have a bottle of it on hand!”

But that’s not it! If you want to grab the rest of this basic supplies list, read the full article here.

Categories: Design & Process