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Incredible 3D printing, but not yet that simple

You have heard of 3D printing, you may not have wondered in depth how it works or what is needed to create 3D printed objects, but you should already have a pre-established idea of ??what. Before testing a printer, I thought that 3D printing was very specific and was only used in large companies or specialized industries. In fact, this has been the case for a long time, but this is changing, many people already have print as a hobby and others even use it as a way to make money.

In this article I will share my full experience with this modality and explain the basics you need to know if you want to get started. It is a collection of interesting information for those just curious and also for those who want to start venturing out.


How it works

Here in the newsroom, we received the FlashForge Inventor printer, a fuller model of around $ 5,000. But calm down, you already have much more affordable models on the market, you can look for FlashForge's own Finder and even other popular ones from other brands such as Creality CR-10 and Ender-3. These last two costs a maximum of $ 2,400.

3D printers are becoming simpler to use, but still complex

FlashForge Inventor is a more complete model, allows you to connect to it via WiFi, has an ip camera to monitor the process and can also work with two filaments at the same time. For you who have had contact with an ink and paper printer, basically filament the cartridge, the material she uses to print 3D objects.

It comes in rolls, measured in kg and has three main types, each with different physical properties that need to be taken into account before printing: petg, ABS and PLA. Other materials may be used, but these are the most common. Without going into detail about the difference between each of them, it is very important that you know which one you are printing with and which setting to use with it. Each roll with about 1.5kg costs on average $ 100 reais.

We used PLA and until we got the hang of printing, it took a while. In the beginning we use wrong temperatures for the PLA, which needs lower temperatures than the ABS to work properly. It may seem a little tricky to hear about all these names, but basically each one has an ideal temperature to use.

FlashForge Inventor 3D Printer – Buy Link

You place one end of the filament into the extruder of the machine, and that part of the machine will be responsible for heating the material and causing it to be expelled through the nozzle. As it exits the nozzle, as in the image below, the material is melted, so the printer receives the 3D coordinates and starts drawing the model. Shortly thereafter, at room temperature, the wires become stiff again.

If you don't know how to model and don't even have a 3D model, just look through numerous online sites that provide free print files. Printer, print material and the 3D object, these are the basic items you will need to print. After assembling the printer and loading it with the filaments, simply look for a 3D object to print. If you are a modeler and already have something you need to print, just take that object and take it to the printer software.

In the video below I explain this process:

To print in 3D you basically need 3 items

Files can already be configured in the .stl standard (used by 3D printing software) or even .obj. Upon receiving the file and opening it in the software, it will read it and prepare it for printing. In this process, slicing happens, where it determines how the print spaces will be filled so that support is well done and everything goes well.


Now just print, right?

Wrong. Even if you read about, find the right settings, set up the software, your print will not come out perfect at first. You will need to find the ideal setting for your printer and the object you want to print. Each object also needs special care before being placed for printing, it is necessary to ensure that its base will always remain in place while printing continues.

Don't expect your first impression, it has a good chance of going wrong

So what does it take to get it right? You need to test different temperatures for the print bed, the extruder (the piece that heats up the filament), and also predict what can go wrong with each file sent.

Our first 3D printing didn't go as expected

In the case below, I should have set a less spaced padding, because it is a toy that after printing needs to have its separate parts. As the spaces were so filled, it was difficult to separate the pieces and the force had to be larger than it would need. That's how I ended up breaking a piece that took 10 hours to print. This is an articulate print, very nice to print, but some of them are quite complex.

Print error with articulated object

Sometimes you can spend hours printing an object and it can just go wrong

The prints take a long time. Even simple prints can take hours. This makes the learning process much longer because it takes time for you as a beginner to realize that printing will go wrong and sometimes the mistake can happen after hours. As indicated, find a setting that works well for most cases and save it.

The following is a simple example that helps you understand the difficulties of the process further. I modeled the logo here on the site in 3D, adjusted everything that I thought would be enough and put it to print. I set it up for the printer to print it in p. Today, the mistake is quite clear to me, there is no support for the piece, she took off from the platform and it was just a mess. Finally, I found that the way was to print her lying down. Another option was to create a wall or brackets, which can be generated in the software itself.

A simple solution that many people make to ensure that each piece of design keeps the base fixed is to place sticky glue on the printing surface. The FlashForge platform is already rough and clinging, but that's not enough in some cases. Using stick glue was essential to our evolution and we discovered this by talking to a follower, Rodrigo Botelho, a very talented guy whom you know better below.

But first, I need to comment on another little problem. 3D printers are not yet ready to print with two strands. It is possible to have a good print with a lot of effort and with a lot of settings. But in most cases it will end up mixing the two colors involved in the process. If you have a two-color roll, red and white in the example below, selecting the parts to print in the colors you choose, they will eventually blend into some corners.

Ideally, what most people who work with 3D choose to do, print the separate objects and then paste them. Even if Inventor has the ability to print with two strands and you can select which part to print in which color in the software, you will probably have a similar problem as in the images above. We are not yet ready to print perfectly in different colors.


A hobby for the few

Knowing the difficulties and looking for the result, you can fall in love with 3D printing. As soon as we published stories on our Instagram profile showing our tests, one of our followers, Rodrigo Botelho, sent us some hand-painted prints of him. We exchanged an idea with him and his help was essential in understanding the steps to be followed to make sure everything went well. He told us that to paint, simply use matte acrylic paint.

As I had these difficulties, I decided to ask him, who already has about a year of experience and very well finished work, about the difficulties of starting in the area. I asked if he thinks it is difficult to learn to print in 3D, he told me that it depends on the prior knowledge of the person in the computer field and even in English and electronics. He also commented that getting started can be hampered as well when you choose a printer model that needs to be assembled (which was not our case).

Daenerys Targaryen Printed and colored by Rodrigo Botelho

He also said that these days it is not enough just for you to put a template to print and expect it to come out perfect:

"There are dozens of configurations on both the software side and the so-called" slicers "both on the hardware and mechanical adjustments on the printer itself, if your goal is to get the maximum quality and perfection in your prints get ready because it can be quite Stressful and challenging, however, there is no greater pleasure in being able to print a perfect piece, a masterpiece. " – Rodrigo Botelho, 3D artist

A tip from him to anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of following YouTube channels that talk only about this subject. This tip really makes a difference, as the processes are still full of "little ways" that you need to get, and only seeing the experience of others to know what to do in some cases. It's also nice to look for tutorials from people who use the same printer as you, as there are characteristics that vary.


Having an always interesting extra income, and creative ways to make money always tend to stand out. For Rodrigo, this is first a hobby, and then a way to get some money. He praises the versatility of having such a printer, comments that it creates all sorts of accessories for your home, "I've already made a Xbox One control stand and even a replica of the God of War Kratos Ax."

But if you want to make money, I need to have some differential and more than one printer. Despite working on some corporate projects and selling a few pieces, Rodrigo says he is not very focused, but observing people who undertake in the area he notices some characteristics:

"From my experience in the area and seeing people working in that area, the secret is knowing and having good experience in the niche you are going to invest in. For example, there are people who use petshop 3D printers printing custom DogTags and custom pet models, others print logos. custom 3D for stores and businesses, others make custom home furnishings …. It goes from creativity to know how to undertake from each other, but one thing sure, you need to have a printer farm or at least two of them to never stay still and always being impressed so as not to lose customers cause one of them to stop. "

Rodrido Botelho's job for an aquarium company

If you think about starting entrepreneurship in the area, you might want to start as a hobby and see if there is any possibility of turning it into a business. Even because it will take a long time for you to learn how to handle the different possible configurations.


3D and the future

It is virtually unquestionable that 3D will have numerous applications in the future and it is becoming popular. Medicine is testing organ printing with fabrics that mimic those made by our cells, engineering and architecture are beginning to print in action, and more and more people are venturing into 3D printing. Like Hobby, or professionally, the three dimensions are increasingly invading our spaces and becoming even more accessible.

In Amsterdam a company decided to print a bridge in

Game development, with free modeling, animation and design tools like Blender and Unreal engine, allows people at home to start making their own codes and bring life to amazing personal projects.

In past decades, only giant animation studios could create their own animations, today our computers are capable of rotating, editing and playing extremely complex codes.

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