Loading

Printing tips and tricks

advice tips tricks

Please Login to Comment

this is a thread of where user can share their tips and tricks for printing. as well as the tools they use.
this is not meant to be printer specific, but because this is the anet a8 group it can be a8 specific.
this is most definitely not meant to be filament specific, because filament can be considered region specific. (the USA will have a different selection of filaments then the UK)
this is also not a support thread, so please don't ask for help in this thread

since i created this topic i will start.

my tips

print removal: i have an assortment of spatulas, a 1in, a 1.5 in, and a 3 in one (i rarely use the 3 in one)
all have been had the inital edge made with my dremel and https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:927925, honed on my honong block, and they all get touched up with 400 grit 3m wet/dry sandpaper, and will get refinished with the honing block

my 1-in one is somewhat springy and my 1.5-in one is not very bendy, it is my go to one
if i have a hard time getting a print off, i will lightly hammer the end of the tool into the bottom of the part, it usually comes off in 1 or 2 taps.
just keep your hands at a safe distance or you may wind up needing stitches.

build surface: glue on buildtak
why glue on buildtak because im using the tak as a long lastign tape, my last sheet of tak lasted over 3 months with this method, and prints stick well and come off fairly easily (somtimes requiring heat to soften the glue.
my glues are as follows, i use 1 of 2.
diluted elmers school glue, (2 parts glue, 1 part water.
or elmer's disappearing purple. i use this for if i start a print and forgot to reapply the glue.
i glue the entire bed, and apply more glue to spots where the glue gets removed from a print.
i also keep a bucket of water near the print for cleanup of prints and excess glue on the bed.
i apply elmer's white with a 2 in chip brush.
if i get a buildup of glue (this will make the bottom look lumpy) i wet the brush and use that buildup to refinish any print.
about once a week i will completely reapply the glue

printer specific tips:
everybody says to solder the wires directly to the bed, but i have found that to be unnecessary. just make a wiring harness using proper gauge silicone wire.
you will need a total of at least 6 pins
SVH-41T-P1.1 for the bed (supports 16-20 AWG wire, you will need at least 4 of these) (remember smaller AWG = bigger wire for more current)
SVH-21T-P1.1 for the thermistor wiring (18-22 AWG wire, you will need at least 2 of these) (smaller Awg meand better data transfer for the thermistor)
and wire, i bought 22 awg white silicone wire a off ebay for the thermistor http://tinyurl.com/y8zq7ngl (see note below)
and 16 AWG red and black for the bed power http://tinyurl.com/y73wrs3j (see note below)
just cut all 3 wires in half and crimp them to the proper contact.
now use a paperclip to remove the housing.
the housing is reusable (but having spares is handy the a8 uses VHR-6N connecters on the bed)
simply use a paperclip or small screwdriver to depress the tab and pull out the contact, and replace with one you just made. use 2 positive, 2 negitive, and 2 thermistor leads in the connecter.

note on buying wire:
each wire in the harness in the wire harness provided by anet is 90 CM long, thats 10 cm short of 1 meter. so i made a 1m long harness.
this means you will need 2m for each wire then split in half. to make the 1 meter.
buy the following if sourcing your own wire.
2m of 22 AWG silicone wire for the thermistor. color dosent matter as polarity dosent matter for the thermistor.
4m of 16 AWG in Black for heatbed power. this will be quartered.
4m of 16 AWG in Red for heat bed power, this will be quartered into 1m lengths.

some users say silicone wire dosent matter if using the connector. but there are a few benefits of silicone over PVC coated wire.
Silicone wire is extremely flexible. even the SUPER thick stuff like 8 awg (which is just under 1CM, thick which i accidently bought, yet flexes amazingly well) this is beneficial if you use a drag chain.
the PVC coating may still shrink if using the bed at a high enough tempurture, and some chemicals also do this (like acetone)

firmware: im sure you heard of skynet, but you may not have heard skynet is nolonger maintained. compile and flash marlin instead, it has all the same features as skynet and then some

heres tips from everyone else

plowna says
I just figured this out the other day. When changing filaments, get a couple blocks of something the same height, sit them on the Z motor mounts and manually adjust your gantry down to rest on them. Then as you fuss about with the filament while changing them you won't mess up your Z height.
i added
here was my method for when i had the mk8 extruder installed.
i pinched the button and the bottom of the carriage, this let me hold the carriage up and release the filament at the same time.
also straighten about 5 inches of the filament before inserting it. makes things a whole lot easier.

FredGenius says
I print on glass, no problem removing prints of any size. They come free when the temperature drops, or can be knocked free with a weighted object if in a hurry.

FredGenius says
I've modified the start gcode (Machine Settings in Cura) to extrude a greater length of filament before printing starts, so that the extra filament gets caught on the edge of the bed rather than being dragged around and mixed up with the print.

Original line: G1 F200 E3 ;extrude 3mm of feed stock

Changed to: G1 F200 E15 ;extrude 15mm of feed stock

FredGenius says
note from mer2329: i edited this a little but just the formatting

To bring the print bed forward at the end of a print, I modified the end gcode (Machine Settings in Cura) from this:

from this:

M84 ;steppers off
G90 ;absolute positioning

to this:

G90 ;absolute positioning
G1 F6000 Y180; move bed to front
M84 ;steppers off

mer2329 Says
heres my g-code scripts, all of them
remember i use slic3r so the first set of codes may not work for other slicers
---------------------
in slic3r i set
Start Gcode

M83 ; extruder relative mode
M140 S[first_layer_bed_temperature] ; set bed temp
M190 S[first_layer_bed_temperature] ; wait for bed temp
M104 S[first_layer_temperature] ; set extruder temp
M109 S[first_layer_temperature] ; wait for extruder temp
G28 ; home all
; prining the extruder, no need to print a line around the print with this
G1 Y-3.0 F1000.0 ; go outside print area
G92 E0.0
G1 X60.0 E9.0 F1000.0 ; intro line
G1 X100.0 E12.5 F1000.0 ; intro line
G92 E0.0
;endo if priming

before layer change

;Layer [layer_num]

in octoprint i set the following scripts

after job completes

M104 S0 ; set extruder temp to 0
M140 S0 ; set bed temp to 0
M107 ; turn off fan
G91 ; relative mode
G1 Z+5 ; move z up 5 mm
G90 ; absolute mode
G1 Y219 ;move bed to front and not rish a frame crash
G1 X-10 ;move extruder to left (i havnt tested this one yet)
M84 ; disable motors

After job is paused

G91 ; relative mode
G1 Z+20 ; move z up 20 mm
M84 ; disable motors
;note: as aoon as the extruder begins to lift i slip a piece of paper under it, this prevents some of the extruder drippings
;and i clean any drippings of fthe print before i resume it

before print is resumed

G1 Z-20 ; move z down 20 mm
G90 ; absolute mode

After connection to printer is established
;note: this allows me to use the octoprint control buttons right from the start.

G21 ;set unit to mm
G28 ; home all

FredGenius says

Use a piece of PTFE tubing to straighten brittle filament - cut off a piece about 50mm long, insert filament, heat gently with a butane torch or lighter, allow to cool. Voila! Straight filament!

that is a great tip Fred. thanks

greasemonkey089 offers 4 tips

  • use a 3 mm glass on the heatbed instead of tape. does not need to be expensive borsilicate glass. just the cheap stuff from picture frames. it creates the perfect surface on the bottom of your prints and will last forever when not dropped ;).

  • Use a cheap hairspray (stays a bit sticky when dried) on the cold glass and dry it while preheating the heatbed. If your bed is prefectly levelled, you dont even need the hairspray for the print to stick on the glass.

  • instead of using a spatula to remove the print from the glass, (which will damage your still soft print and scratch the hairspray surface) simply remove the hot glass with the finished print and place it on a cool (not ice-cold) flat surface like a stone window sill, glass or stone table . after a Minute or so you'll hear some cracks and your print can be removed from the platform without any force.

  • when the z-axes are out of sync (x axis is askew), hit 'home all', disable the steppers and manually move the print head to the front right corner. then just carefully turn the right z spindle until the nozzle is at the correct hight. Also check the nozzle hight on the left corner. It only takes a few seconds and you dont have to use the screws on the heatbed. i have found that most of the time this is all i need to do when the heatbed needs to be leveled because the left z-height is set by the end-switch and the only source of failure is the z-axis beeing moved by 2 not mechanically connected motors.
    One more Thing: when the heatbed needs to be levelled, always do it after preheating on the hot printer. all heated parts expand when hot and the nozzle-to-heatbed distance changes when calibrated before preheating the machine.

mer2329's comment on the hairspray
a lot of people use aquanet hairspray, specifically aquanet, and not other brands.

mer2329 says
some printers have the motors for the Z axis in parallel. this leads to the motors running independaltly, and can lead to both motors having different heights. it is best to run the Z axis (or any axis that uses more then 1 motor in series.
to do this cheaply you can make a custom wiring harness. or buy/make a series adapter board
the following requires soldering
buy a board here (minimum 3 boards/order) https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/imzyj7Kj
and get the following connecters for making it a anet drop in board.
2 per board. JST XH, 4 positions connecters. (use 1x4 header pins to make it RAMPS compatible)
1 per board JST JQ connecter, 4 positions. (or use a 1x4 header socket to make it ramps compatible
figure out the polarity of the JQ connecter for yourself.
buy a board. i have already made 3 of these, and im using 1, all are tested.
im charging $10 USD plus shipping (im in the USA)
they look like this when installed: Back | front

greasemonkey089 offers 2 more tips

  • when the extruder nozzle is clogged, its a bad idea to use a needle, a micro- drill etc. to clean them: you will very likely ruin the hole in the nozzle leading to a larger diameter that the printer is not set to....
    When clogged, i carefully heat my (brass) nozzle with a blow torch until everything sticking on the inside and outside has burned away. wait until the piece has cooled down and you are ready to print again.
  • To avoid clogging, use a piece of foam inside a PET-bottle-cap with a whole as a filament filter.

mer2329's comment

  • as long as you dont twist the drill bit you should be good, moving the bit up and down is unlikely to damage a nozzle.
    drill bits are only sharp at the point (unless its a drill bit meant for CNC macnining, those are shartened up the shank as well)
    other options include acupuncture needles, wire, and my personal fave for cleaning. cold pulls with cleaning filament (which i always keep some on hand, FYI inland brand costs $9.99 at micro center.)
  • if you dont have a suitable cap, you can alyays print a "filament filter" or "filament oiler", or use a binderclip to clamp a clean sponge around the filament barnecles style.

mer2329 offers 2 more tips

  • dont print a filament guide. use a binderclip. image
  • pringing a filament that dosent like drafts and dont have an enclosure, use a old shower curtain and some binder clips. image

if you couldnt tell i like binderclips they are so useful. they work well as: chip clips; twist tie replacements; filament guides; and so much more.

Digital_Sqrt posted, but credits Devek for the tip
In my opinion the frame is salvageable. There are several braces available on thingiverse along with the one I made. Another very inexpensive upgrade are these.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/M3x5-5x2mm-Zinc-Plated-Square-Nuts-Bronze-Tone-100pcs/282812260567?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Most of us got the hex nuts that don't fit well in the slots or hold the frame well. The square nuts will improve the stability of the frame. Going to a steel frame or aluminum extrusion is expensive and improves the print but that is like starting with a new printer. Your call. I used the nuts and my brace and I am getting decent prints.

i was perusing the forums and found a decent tip so i'm adding it here

Digital_Sqrt posted, but credits Devek for the tip
In my opinion the frame is salvageable. There are several braces available on thingiverse along with the one I made. Another very inexpensive upgrade are these.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/M3x5-5x2mm-Zinc-Plated-Square-Nuts-Bronze-Tone-100pcs/282812260567?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Most of us got the hex nuts that don't fit well in the slots or hold the frame well. The square nuts will improve the stability of the frame. Going to a steel frame or aluminum extrusion is expensive and improves the print but that is like starting with a new printer. Your call. I used the nuts and my brace and I am getting decent prints.

4 more tricks that might be helpful:

  • use a 3 mm glass on the heatbed instead of tape. does not need to be expensive borsilicate glass. just the cheap stuff from picture frames. it creates the perfect surface on the bottom of your prints and will last forever when not dropped ;).

  • Use a cheap hairspray (stays a bit sticky when dried) on the cold glass and dry it while preheating the heatbed. If your bed is prefectly levelled, you dont even need the hairspray for the print to stick on the glass.

  • instead of using a spatula to remove the print from the glass, (which will damage your still soft print and scratch the hairspray surface) simply remove the hot glass with the finished print and place it on a cool (not ice-cold) flat surface like a stone window sill, glass or stone table . after a Minute or so you'll hear some cracks and your print can be removed from the platform without any force.

  • when the z-axes are out of sync (x axis is askew), hit 'home all', disable the steppers and manually move the print head to the front right corner. then just carefully turn the right z spindle until the nozzle is at the correct hight. Also check the nozzle hight on the left corner. It only takes a few seconds and you dont have to use the screws on the heatbed. i have found that most of the time this is all i need to do when the heatbed needs to be leveled because the left z-height is set by the end-switch and the only source of failure is the z-axis beeing moved by 2 not mechanically connected motors.
    One more Thing: when the heatbed needs to be levelled, always do it after preheating on the hot printer. all heated parts expand when hot and the nozzle-to-heatbed distance changes when calibrated before preheating the machine.

added all 4 to the OP.

there is another useful trick:

  • when the extruder nozzle is clogged, its a bad idea to use a needle, a micro- drill etc. to clean them: you will very likely ruin the hole in the nozzle leading to a larger diameter that the printer is not set to....
    When clogged, i carefully heat my (brass) nozzle with a blow torch until everything sticking on the inside and outside has burned away. wait until the piece has cooled down and you are ready to print again.
  • To avoid clogging, use a piece of foam inside a PET-bottle-cap with a whole as a filament filter.

added.
damn, i forgot a space, i will have to add it later, or i will get the post marked as spam again

One more trick for you, freshly discovered:

Use a piece of PTFE tubing to straighten brittle filament - cut off a piece about 50mm long, insert filament, heat gently with a butane torch or lighter, allow to cool. Voila! Straight filament!

the OP is currently flagged but your tip is added, and will be visible once the post clears moderation.
i will also remove my other 3 replies because they all contain the OP, and will make this thread too long

edit: thanks moderators for removing my comments below. but please for the love of helping other please fix the auto flag settings..
now i want to scream obsenities at thingiverse. all i did this time was fix some of my escape characters. (i previously had fome forward slashes instead of the needed backslash) oh well give it another few days.

Comments deleted.

all complete tips added to first post

lets try and keep the duplicate posts to a minimum, so if you have multiple tips please merge them into one post ,use that edit button and remember to copy the post before submitting changes (or thingiverse may mark it for moderation.)
helpful markup for that will be
a) bold/strong

*[enter some text here]*

b) quotes

>[enter text here].
note an empoty line needs to go between the quote and other text or the system will continue the quote

see

To bring the print bed forward at the end of a print, I modified the end gcode (Machine Settings in Cura) from this:

...
M84 ;steppers off
G90 ;absolute positioning

to this:
...
G90 ;absolute positioning
G1 F6000 Y180; move bed to front
M84 ;steppers off

I've modified the start gcode (Machine Settings in Cura) to extrude a greater length of filament before printing starts, so that the extra filament gets caught on the edge of the bed rather than being dragged around and mixed up with the print.

Original line: G1 F200 E3 ;extrude 3mm of feed stock

Changed to: G1 F200 E15 ;extrude 15mm of feed stock

I have designed a synchronizing system to keep both ends of the x carriage at the same height, removing the need to set/check the heights every time I print. I have published the printable parts and full installation instructions on this site, happy to add a link to the thing here, but I'll wait to be asked ;)

im going to start addings all tips to the first post.

so far i added the tips from FredGenus and plowna

I print on glass, no problem removing prints of any size. They come free when the temperature drops, or can be knocked free with a weighted object if in a hurry.

I don't think it will flood the forum. At best you'll get a dozen or so replies.

I just figured this out the other day. When changing filaments, get a couple blocks of something the same height, sit them on the Z motor mounts and manually adjust your gantry down to rest on them. Then as you fuss about with the filament while changing them you won't mess up your Z height.

thanks for the first tip. here was my method for when i had the mk8 extruder installed.
i pinched the button and the bottom of the carriage, this let me hold the carriage up and release the filament at the same time.
also straighten about 5 inches of the filament before inserting it. makes things a whole lot easier.

I did not mean to be rude. What im trying to say is this group forum is good place to go to when people in desperate need of help and get immediate replies... this thread you are trying to create will flood the messages and drown out their posts. This place will become useless

Oh sht. This is going to spam my dashboard with junks. Can you remove this thread please. I think there is an appropriate forum for that? Like Tip Trick section maybe?

no i will never delete it. this will become a useful thread and i hope the owner of the group pins it