Top 25 Must-Have 3D Printing Accessories
We believe that it’s more than just the 3D printer that yields great results. The accessories also play an important role when it comes to determining the quality of a 3D-printed product. With the right accessories, an average printer can become incredibly useful. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite accessories here today.
The digital clapper enables you to dimension particular parts that you wish to replicate within CAD software. This is in addition to checking just how precise your prints are. Furthermore, many people like to check on the accuracy of their filament since the sizes they offer are often different to the sizes advertised. When 3D printing, there can be a lot of measurements involved. A caliper is a must for any 3D Printer expert.
When it comes to the more fiddly tasks with 3D printing, a full set of tweezers is a must. For example, you might need to plug the extruder nozzle from oozing filament. Without tweezers, there is a high chance of burning yourself but these little tools will keep you protected. When cleaning up a recent print, the tweezers also play a role especially if you have a set with different grips and sizes.
Much like the tweezers mentioned above, you should also have a variety of different sandpapers offering various grits. In the post-processing step of your printing, the sandpaper will help you to sharpen the print and define the details. Yet it should be noted that you should stick with a well-known brand wherever possible. This is because quality is much more important than quantity when it comes to sandpaper. With the cheaper options, they will wear down much quicker and cost more money in the long run.
Filament can go bad every now and then due to the fact that plastics tend to absorb the moisture held within the air. Therefore, you should be keeping them as dry as possible. The use of silica gel desiccant bags can help prevent this. PVA and nylon are both prone to absorbing moisture. If you’re printing in either of these materials, silica gel packets are essential.
5. Super Glue
Just like the digital caliper, super glue has an endless supply of uses from filling gaps, repairing parts, and combining two small assemblies together. With this in mind, you also need to remember that different glues will complete different jobs. For example, a thicker type of glue will be much better for filling holes whilst delicate procedures would need a thinner option. For ABS and PLA, super glue can be incredibly effective.
3D printers will move and are heavy machines. This causes bolts to loosen along with other parts that may need tightening. With a simple hex key wrench set, you will have the right tool regardless of the size of the bolt. Not only that, but they will help with the initial installation process.
7. Masking Tape
Most of the products that we’ve listed so far have been basic accessories. However, this is great because it means you don’t need to spend large amounts of money just to yield positive results from your 3D printer. This is also the same for masking tape For the most part, it’s used to help each print adhere better to the print bed and is recommended by some of the largest 3D printer manufacturing companies. Furthermore, the final print is much easier to remove from the bed as well as protect it from scratches.
Needle-nose pliers will allow you to get into the more fiddly areas of the machine and your prints. Pliers are essential when it comes to cutting filaments, installing new filaments, and even fixing any jams that occur in your 3d printer. Furthermore, ABS prints sometimes get stuck to the print surface -pliers provide a great solution for this.
As well as being inexpensive, razor blades are incredibly useful when it comes to 3D printing. They’re incredible helpful when it comes to removing prints from the print bed. Sometimes the thinner prints threaten to bend or snap if you use too much force, so sliding a razor blade underneath provides a fantastic alternative. We suggest buying them in bulk for a better price.
10. ABS Juice
Moving away from the tools a little, we have something that will prevent ABS prints from sticking. We previously suggested pliers for this particular task, but there is something that you can do before printing. With ABS Juice, you will find that adhesion to the print surface is aided and corner warping can also be prevented. Over the years, hairspray has been the go-to solution for this, but ABS Juice has been designed specifically with this job in mind.
11. MakerBot PLA
You might be wondering why we are suggesting that you pay a little more money for a product from MakerBot, but we have three good reasons. First, the thickness will be consistent regardless of the length. This is something that doesn’t always happen when 3D printing. Second, the MakerBot filament isn’t as brittle, so isn’t as prone to getting tangled or broken. Finally, the product very rarely comes already tangled on the spool. This makes it easy to install and you won’t have to worry once you begin printing.
When it comes to the print bed, there aren’t many materials better than borosilicate glass. It’s capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures since it’s tempered. With glass on the print bed, the finish will be smooth. Not only that, but it also prevents the use of hairspray or any other flammable materials. What’s more is that plates of this type are now compatible with the majority of big name models and the cost is relatively little compared to the improvement it provides. You’ll notice a huge difference in your final product with this print bed.
Without the need to buy multiple different tools, this kit provides them all. You will receive up to 25 different tools and accessories designed to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. As well as needle-nose pliers, you will also receive a glue stick, steel knife, print removal tool, print utility tool, clean-up tweezers, and more. If anything at all, this can definitely be a good place to start.
14. Raspberry Pi
A Raspberry Pi can actually be very useful for 3D printers. With the Raspberry Pi, you will find all sorts of applications that can help with the printing process such as ‘OctoPrint’. Once you have everything running on the same network, you may be able to control your 3D printer from your computer using a simple web browser. If you connect a webcam to your printer, this provides you with an opportunity to watch the printing process anywhere in the world.
Although 3D printers have come a long way in recent years, there is still one thing that cannot be achieved – a polished finish. Acetone is a superb way to do this. Keep in mind that you will need to find what works with each material. Keep in mind that some materials will be resistant to solvents.
16. Kapton Tape
As a Polyamide adhesive tape, this is yet another fantastic option to cover print beds. Earlier, we suggested masking tape which is a good short-term solution but this will be better in the long-term because it’s much better at handling the higher temperatures. After improving adhesion, this tape will also prevent severe warping so should be combined with other options we’ve provided for you today. If your budget is somewhat limited, you may have to stick with our first suggestion of masking tape as there is a marked difference in the price of the two.
17. Palette Knives
Palette knives are an incredibly flexible tool when it comes to 3D printing. They’ll be able to help when a print is stuck to the bed. Furthermore, they’ll also help with a manner of other activities including cleaning, ensuring that the finer details are neatly finished, and more. For a set of five or six different shapes and styles, you will never normally have to go above $10. Definitely worth the small price.
18. X-ACTO Knife
Although 3D printers are improving with every year that passes, there will sometimes be times where you need to make small adjustments. Fortunately, this can be done with an x-acto knife. For example, you may be left with strings of filament or even plastic blobs that form during the processing phase. You can take the knife and remove these issues in a matter of seconds. With the knife we have suggested, you will also be able to get exchangeable blades depending on the job at hand.
19. Permanent Marker
When you first a 3D printer and run initial testing, it’s important to print the same product under different settings. Yet sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of each product. This is just one of the uses in which a permanent marker can come in handy. For teachers, this can be incredibly useful when it comes to writing student names on a finished product.
Perhaps this one isn’t as much as a ‘must-have’ as a ‘will come in handy’. As a rotary tool, the Dremel itself will come with a variety of accessories depending on whether you are looking to sand, grind, cut, or carve. Just like with the X-ACTO knife, you might want to remove excess material, polish the final product, or sand away any rough edges that exist. As long as you buy a good quality Dremel, it will last for years to come and you will find a number of other uses for it around the house too.
We also include the BuildTak, a square plastic sheet that will stick to your print bed. Of all the options, many people find this to be the best when printing alongside the glass we saw earlier. Since the sheets are so durable, they can be used time and time again whilst also keeping the cleaning process easier than ever before.
If you are using the 3D printer around children, this is a good accessory to have. Use this to have them check the temperatures to then learn the dangers of touching when they aren’t supposed to. Not only that, but if a fault occurs within the printer itself, you can cross-match the temperature with the display and potentially find the cause of any problem.
If you’re looking for a smoother surface on your end product, this can achieved with a ‘smoothing pen’ which can be a safer way of using acetone. Once applied onto the rough surface, the chemical will get to work and the exterior will become smooth. For safety reasons, there is a spring-activated tip so that depression is required for the acetone to fully release. With a translucent body on most models, you can also tell how much you have left before it needs filling.
Many people forget about keeping the nozzle clean which can lead to problems in the long-term. Essentially, nozzle cleaning kits clear any excess material that may be stuck inside the nozzle to keep it clean for the next print. As long as you have this accessory, you will be helping to keep your machine healthy and stable.
25. Carrier Case
This product doesn’t directly affect the performance of the 3D printer but it will help to keep all of your utensils in one place. Rather than having all of your useful accessories splayed around all over the place, a good carrier case enables you to stay tidy and prevent certain items from going missing. For example, the small cleaning drill bits are prone to getting lost but this cannot happen if they are tucked away neatly in a pocket of your bag. Furthermore, a bag can also be great when travelling around.
These 25 products all help making the 3D printing process that much more enjoyable. Considering the cost of the average 3D printer, these can be decent investments that help to prolong its life. They help from keeping the nozzle clean to preserving your prints. See a 3D printer accessory that’s not on the list and should be? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.